Kentavious Caldwell-Pope growing into leadership role at Georgia

Jamie Squire

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is growing into a leadership role, as the Bulldogs lean on him to be the leader of their team in 2012-13.

Georgia Bulldogs sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is one of four players from Georgia's 2011-12 team that is returning with starting experience -- and Caldwell-Pope will have the biggest and most important role of any of those players this coming season.

The sophomore guard averaged 13.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game as a freshman last season, and will need to improve on those numbers this season if the Bulldogs are going to be legitimate contenders in the SEC.

Caldwell-Pope knows how important his play, particularly offensive production, is to the Bulldogs' season, and he says he's prepared for that.

"I'm more calm than I was," the former Greenville star admits. "I've grown a lot; I've matured a lot. There was pressure last year for me, as a young kid, to step onto this big stage. I really was a little scared. But I talked with my teammates and coaches, and they helped me get comfortable."

Caldwell-Pope scored 17 points in Georgia's season-opening win over the Jacksonville Dolphins, but was just 3-of-12 shooting from the field. 10 of Caldwell-Pope's points came from the free throw line, where Caldwell was 10-of-12 shooting.

Caldwell-Pope also added six rebounds in Georgia's season-opening win.

Georgia will open up conference play on Jan. 9, when the Bulldogs head to Florida to take on the Gators. The Bulldogs are hoping that Georgia's tough out-of-conference schedule will help players like Caldwell-Pope prepare for SEC play.

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