I am a big fan of Travis Leslie right now, but I am an even bigger fan of what he could develop into with one more year of college basketball under his belt. Keep in mind that, when I spoke with him right after Georgia's loss to Vanderbilt at the SEC's in March, that even he admitted that he didn't play too much.
"Last year I wasn't starting. I was playing behind Terrence Woodberry and Corey Butler," he said. "This year I had to step my game up because I knew I was starting."
Imagine what he's going to play like with the money on the table in 2010-11… it is going to be sick.
But Leslie knows that he didn't get better simply because he was playing more. In fact, it would be unfair not to recognize the work he did during the summer.
"During the summer, whenever I had the chance, I worked on my game," he said. "Whatever I had to do to improve as a player."
The sky is the limit for Leslie, but another summer of work under the watchful eye of Mark Fox is going to make him a first-round pick next summer. Quite frankly, he would hurt his future earning ability by coming out right now and getting locked into a lower-pick contract.
The crazy thing is that Leslie is still raw. But his development in the last three months of the season was stunning. Trey Thompkins came into the season as the Dawgs' best overall player, but Leslie eclipsed him somewhere along the way. His play during the SECs cemented that for me.
Still, the duo would be a formidable combo for the Dawgs next season. I keep talking about how Georgia needs a shooter, and they do, but Leslie has come a long way even in that department. My point is that he is becoming a heck of an all-around player.
The scary thing, in my eyes, for opponents is that Leslie is not nearly what he could be on the defensive end of the floor. In my mind he could, and should be even more dominant on the defensive end of the floor because of his God-given abilities. That might come in time, too.
For now the Dawgs got a good bump in momentum today with Leslie deciding to stay. He made the correct choice today in staying. He will make the correct choice next year at this time by leaving.