Bradley Beal selected No. 3 overall in NBA Draft, headed to Washington Wizards
Former Florida guard Bradley Beal was selected by the Washington Wizards in the No. 3 overall slot Thursday night in the 2012 NBA Draft. Beal becomes the 11th first-round draft pick in Florida history, and the ninth under head coach Billy Donovan. Florida has now had seven players seleced in the top 10 of the NBA Draft.
Beal joined Kentucky’s Anthony Davis (No. 1 to the Charlotte Hornets) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2 to the Charlotte Bobcats) from the SEC. It’s the first time the top three picks have come from the same conference since Brad Daugherty, Len Bias and Chris Washburn - all ACC players - were selected in 1986.
Beal will join a Wizards’ squad led by former UK star John Wall, and a team that added Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor in trades this past Friday.
“We started to have to fit pieces around John that can make John a better player, as well as our team,’’ Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said during an ESPN interview. “The icing on the cake for me was after meeting the kid, the family, he comes from a great family, a strong family and he’s a great character person. And we’re trying to change the culture of this team a little bit and bring in solid people. Not only talented people that are going to help us win games, but from a character and locker room standpoint that are going to make our locker room a lot stronger.’’
Wall said he welcomes the addition of Beal to the team.
“I think it’s a guy we really wanted to pick in that situation, luckily the chips fell our way and we got the guy we wanted,’’ Wall said. “The No. 3 pick is a tough pick because at No. 2 you never know what kind of situation they have, and Charlotte had a lot of opportunities to take him, and luckily they didn’t and we were able to get the guy we wanted.’’
Beal started all 32 games for the Gators, averaging 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds. He was a first-team All-SEC selection and a member of the SEC All-Freshman team.
“Certainly his talent speaks for itself,’’ Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “I think he has the ability to end up being a combo-guard. I think he can play a little bit at the point, and he’s certainly a two. He’s got NBA rang, he’s athletic, he’s strong. And Ii think people are going to start to find out all the things I knew when I coached him, all the intangibles things: he’s got it all. He’ll be a great addition and great player to that league.’’
Beal, who celebrated his 19th birthday, became the second Gator selected at No. 3 in the NBA Draft, joining Al Horford who was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in 2007. Neal Walk remains the highest drafted Gator, going No. 2 to the Phoenix Suns in 1969.