Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal already has shown the ability to play at a high level in one the top college basketball in conferences in America.
Whether the 6-foot-3 Beal sticks around beyond this season remains to be seen. Asked about his future at UF beyond this season, Beal said: “I’m not really sure about that. I really haven’t thought about that at all. I’m just focusing on the season, one game at a time. I’m just focusing on the team right now.”
It wasn’t confirmation that Beal will bolt for the NBA draft, but it wasn’t an emphatic “I’ll be back for my sophomore season” either. Florida hasn’t had a one-and-done player since power forward Donnell Harvey left after his freshman season in 2000.
But there is reason to be concerned, considering Beal’s high draft stock and upside. The web site draftexpress.com has Beal the No. 10 overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in its latest 2012 mock NBA draft (Patric Young is No. 16 to the Cleveland Cavaliers). Draftexpress.com editor Jonathan Givony says that Beal, “Shows a highly developed skill-level for a player his age as well as great maturity and an excellent basketball IQ. He is first and foremost an outstanding shooter, showing the ability to come off screens and make shots with deep range as well as pulling up smoothly off the dribble.”
Beal ranks seventh in the SEC in scoring (14.2 ppg) and 16th in rebounding (6.0 rpg). He’s posted four career double-doubles and has been named SEC freshman of the week five times.
“It’s a honor but I really don’t pay any attention to that,” Beal said of SEC freshman of the week. “I’m just trying to compete hard every week and just try to play my best and do what’s best for my team.”
— Donovan said he’s tinkered with a Young, Will Yeguete, Erik Murphy frontline in practice in an effort to match up against bigger teams like Kentucky in SEC play. But Donovan said he would be concerned about losing offense without either Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton or Beal on the floor. “The biggest thing is offensively we might then become a little bit stagnant doing that,” Donovan said. “But it is something that we have kind of toyed around and played with and may be something that going down the road we may do a little bit more.”
— Condolences go out to former Gator standout Corey Brewer and his family following the death of his father, Ellis, after a long bout with diabetes. Brewer has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Denver Nuggets to mourn with his family.