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Is Nick Calathes ready to turn pro?

Florida guard Nick Calathes declared his intention to enter the NBA Draft. Does the sophomore star need more seasoning?

GAINESVILLE — Florida sophomore point guard Nick Calathes announced on Monday his plans to enter the NBA Draft pool. Calathes will do so without an agent, meaning he can return to the University of Florida if he is not drafted.

Calathes informed Florida coach Billy Donovan of his plans on Sunday night. Calathes averaged 17.2 points per game and 6.4 assists per game. He scored 1,170 points in his two seasons with the Gators, which is a program record for an underclassman.

“This is a great opportunity to take some time, look at my future beyond college, collect information and see where I’m at,” Calathes said in a written statement distributed by the University of Florida.

If Calathes does not return, he would be the second sophomore in as many years to leave the program for the NBA. Former UF forward Marreese Speights was drafted in the first round last season by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 16th overall pick.

Calathes’ numbers this season were almost identical to statistics compiled by former Florida point guard Jason Williams, who turned pro after his sophomore season.  Williams, who was kicked off the Gators’ team during his sophomore season, averaged 17.1 points per game and 6.7 assists per game. Calathes considers Williams a friend and mentor.

“I talk to him all the time,” Calathes said.

OK, anyone out there think Calathes is a first-round pick? My opinion: If Calathes is going to be a first-round pick then he should turn pro. If Calathes is going to be a second-round pick, then he should return to Florida.

Do I think Calathes is a first-round pick? No. Do I think Calathes' draft stock will rise after another year of college? It all depends on who the other point guards are in next year's draft. Does UConn's Kemba Walker return to school? Does Memphis guard Tyreke Evans return to school? Is Calathes better than Villanova junior guard Scottie Reynolds? How does Calathes' game compare to North Carolina junior guard Ty Lawson or Michigan State sophomore guard Kalin Lucas?

Donovan said during the post-game press conference after the Gators' final game of the season that NBA general managers draft players based on potential? Should Calathes sit the bench in the NBA the next couple of years or start for the Gators his junior and senior seasons and make a run at the NCAA Tournament? How could Calathes consider going pro after never even playing in the NCAA Tournament? When Speights turned pro, at least he had a ring.



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