Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Florida Gators guard Bradley Beal on rise for NBA draft

Florida guard Bradley Beal was less assertive at first, but the freshman came on strong.

Associated Press

Florida guard Bradley Beal was less assertive at first, but the freshman came on strong.

GAINESVILLE — Six months ago, Florida's Bradley Beal was struggling to adjust to the college game midway through his freshman season. Now he is a few hours away from becoming a lottery pick in the NBA draft.

After impressive performances late in the regular season and an outstanding postseason run, Beal has skyrocketed to a projected top-five pick in tonight's draft.

"He's going to be (No.) 2, I wouldn't hesitate," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said when asked where Beal could expect to be drafted. "I think he's the second-best prospect in the draft behind (Kentucky freshman) Anthony Davis. … Need, whatever, how could you not need a guard that's got that kind of ability? … There are very few teams that he wouldn't work well with a good point guard. He's tremendous."

In fact, the Thunder was looking for ways to move up from No. 28 to have a shot at Beal, ESPN.com reported. The Bobcats have the No. 2 pick and are said to be listening to offers.

Beal's rise is not necessarily surprising. The St. Louis native, who turns 19 today, arrived at Florida as a two-guard with a resume that indicated his stay might be short. He was the Gatorade national player of the year in 2011 and a McDonald's All-American, averaging 32.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists at Chaminade Prep in St. Louis.

At 6 feet 4, he's a strong defender, outstanding rebounder, can put the ball on the floor and pass in transition, and is a solid free-throw shooter. And by the end of the season, he was shooting 43 percent from the field.

"He has all the intangibles to be a great, great pro and to play a long, long time," UF coach Billy Donovan said. "He's a great teammate, he's really unselfish and works incredibly hard."

When Beal announced in April he was leaving UF, he called it "one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life." Analysts say it was the best thing he could do.

"The fact that he's a freshman and he's showing his potential now," CBS Sports analyst Seth Davis said. "If he was the same player as a senior, the perception would be completely different. So he was very, very smart playing into the psychology of the draft."

Analysts also say Beal's early college struggles didn't hurt him with NBA scouts. "People need to look at the situation that Bradley came into," CBS Sports Network analyst Jon Rothstein said. "He had to find a way to integrate himself with players like Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton that had already been deep into the NCAA Tournament. That's not an easy situation to find yourself in during your first year in college. … It wasn't like things were handed to him right away and he was the poster boy."

Magic is tight-lipped

ORLANDO — If the Magic plans to make a major move tonight, new general manager Rob Hennigan isn't saying.

Hennigan, who took over a week ago, and the Magic have the 19th and 49th picks tonight, but because center Dwight Howard has said he isn't committed beyond the upcoming season, other teams are working on their trade pitches.

"I don't want to comment on that," Hennigan said Tuesday when asked about trading Howard tonight. "We're going to continue to evaluate everything we can and analyze all the details and the options and the scenarios."

The Rockets are expected to tempt the Magic. After a trade Wednesday, Houston has the 12th, 16th and 18th picks and still is trying to move up. The Rockets could offer a package that includes at least one established player and multiple picks in exchange for Howard and perhaps another Magic player.

Rockets-Bucks: Milwaukee acquired veteran center Samuel Dalembert, the No. 14 pick tonight, a future second-round pick and cash considerations from Houston in exchange for forwards Jon Brockman and Jon Leuer, guard Shaun Livingston and the No. 12 pick.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press was used in this report.

>>tonight

NBA draft

When/where: 7:30; Newark, N.J.

Two rounds

TV: ESPN

Draft order, 3C

First-round draft order

1. Hornets
2. Bobcats
3. Wizards
4. Cavaliers
5. Kings
6. Trail Blazers (from Nets)
7. Warriors
8. Raptors
9. Pistons
10. Hornets (from Wolves via Clippers)
11. Trail Blazers
12. Rockets (from Bucks)
13. Suns
14. Bucks (from Rockets)
15. 76ers
16. Rockets (from Knicks)
17. Mavericks
18. Rockets (from Wolves via Utah)
19. Magic
20. Nuggets
21. Celtics
22. Celtics (from Clippers via Thunder)
23. Hawks
24. Cavaliers (from Lakers)
25. Grizzlies
26. Pacers
27. Heat
28. Thunder
29. Bulls
30. Warriors (from Spurs)

Former Florida Gators guard Bradley Beal on rise for NBA draft 06/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 28, 2012 12:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs running back's gamble pays off for his mom

    Bucs

    TAMPA — When Peyton Barber decided to leave Auburn after his sophomore year, with only one season as a starting running back, it was a risky decision, one he hoped would let him help out his family back home in suburban Atlanta.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) takes the field with an American flag before a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Armwood vs. Tampa Bay Tech teeming with Division I-A talent

    Footballpreps

    Armwood High School strong safety Caleb Sutherland (18) breaks a tackle to score a pick-six during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  3. Bucs bring back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete

    Bucs

    Just 12 days before the NFL makes its final cuts, the Bucs have added another position battle, signing back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete with veteran Garrison Sanborn.

    Andrew DePaola is making an impressive recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in last year's season finale against Carolina in January.  [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. My AP preseason All-America ballot

    Blogs

    Now that the AP's preseason All-America team has been released, I'll share what I submitted.

  5. 'Hard Knocks' star Bullough facing numbers game

    Bucs

    Bucs undrafted rookie linebacker Riley Bullough is perhaps the surprise star of HBO's "Hard Knocks" and has been productive in two preseason games, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Tuesday that he's caught in a numbers game competing for a backup spot on the Tampa Bay roster.

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Riley Bullough is caught in a numbers game competing for a backup spot on the Tampa Bay roster. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]