GREENVILLE, Ga (WRBL) – Greenville, Georgia is home to just over 800 people, but one 2020 NBA Finals player and potential NBA Champion Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope is a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. His mother continues to cheer for her son back in West Georgia.
“I would’ve have never thought it would get to a point where he would reach his dream and be where he wanted to be,” said Caldwell-Pope’s mother, Rhonda Caldwell.
Caldwell-Pope started chasing his dream of being in the NBA at Greenville High School. Head Girls Basketball and Volleyball coach Waquiesha Tenney watched Caldwell-Pope grow up and his game develop.
“He was just known as a sharpshooter, but as he got older he began to do multiple things. Rebound, run the floor very well he was just a coach on the floor,” said Coach Tenny. Tenney has been working at Greenville High School.
His growth on the floor eventually got him looks from colleges like the University of Georgia, where he eventually continued his playing career.
“Once he started getting looks he changed. He became more serious. People used to love to come when they knew Scott was going to be in the building,” Tenney said.
He spent two years as a Bulldog before he was later drafted in the first round with the eighth pick by the Detroit Pistons in 2013.
His mother credits all the late nights on the court that got him to this point.
“He always stayed at the basketball court with a ball in his hand,” said Caldwell. She says she often had to go and get him and urge him to come home because he had other things to tend to.
Caldwell says she put her son in AAU Travel and basketball camps. One of those camps was a LeBron James camp, Caldwell-Pope’s current teammate and mentor.
“Now that he has reached that goal to be in the NBA, to play against LeBron James and playing with him it’s just a life worth living,” said Caldwell.
Caldwell sits on the couch every other day and watches the Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat matchup. On the days in between she watches the highlights and analysis of the game, and looks at old photos of her son. The one who made it out.
So far, in Caldwell-Pope’s seven-year career in the NBA, he’s averaged 11.6 points. During the postseason he increased his point average from 9.6 during the regular season to 10.1 points during the postseason.
On Friday the Lakers will try to put the Heat away and win the NBA Finals 4-1.