Monday, June 18, 2018
Sports

Freshman guard Bradley Beal to leave Florida Gators and enter NBA Draft

GAINESVILLE — From the moment Florida's basketball season ended three weeks ago, freshman guard Bradley Beal has weighed the pros and cons of leaving school for the NBA.

After multiple meetings with coach Billy Donovan, talks with his parents and prayer, Beal decided to enter the draft, he announced Friday. He becomes the first Gator to leave after one season since Donnell Harvey (who was drafted 22nd overall in 2000 and played for five teams over four seasons).

Beal called it "one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life."

He said informing Donovan was the toughest part.

"Just the feeling, the emotions that I had, it was worse than losing the game against Louisville (in the NCAA region final)," Beal said. "This place is great. I loved this year. I had a great year here. My teammates were great. Coaches were great. Everything about this place is beautiful. I'm really sad that I have to give it up, but I believe there are bigger things that I have to accomplish. It was the right time for me."

Beal, who turns 19 on June 28 (the day of the draft), averaged 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds. Although a guard, he took on more of a forward's role when Florida lost Will Yeguette to an injury and thrived at both positions.

After struggling in early January, Beal's standout play in February and March improved his draft stock dramatically.

Donovan said based on his conversations with NBA personnel, Beal is a top-10 pick and could move up to top five. Donovan said he did not try to influence Beal and his role was strictly to provide the player with the best information he could gather.

"Maybe even more so than any player that I've coached, being young and having a lot of eligibility in front of him, he may have been as mature as anybody I've been around at his age in terms of how he was looking at this decision and this process," Donovan said.

"All of the things that I would have wanted him to look at when it came time to make this decision, he definitely did. It was well-thought out by him. I don't think he was influenced by anybody. He had great support. And people really gave him space to make his decision."

Beal would be the eighth Gator selected in the first round since 2000, second only to Kentucky in the SEC. NBA Draft Net pro­jects Beal as the No. 7 pick, Hoops Report as the No. 5.

More draft: Connecticut center Andre Drummond, who averaged 10 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds as a freshman, said he will enter the draft.

Gator Signing: Winter Haven High's DeVon Walker signed with Florida, the fourth member of its 2012 class. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard averaged 23.8 points and 10.4 rebounds as a senior. He previously orally committed to Central Florida and also considered Alabama, Connecticut and Kansas State.

LSU: Johnny Jones, the coach at North Texas for the past 11 seasons and who played on LSU's Final Four team in 1981, was hired as coach. He replaces Trent Johnson, who took over at TCU.

Syracuse: Zachary Tomaselli said he lied when he accused former assistant Bernie Fine of molesting him. Next week, Tomaselli begins a prison sentence in Maine for molesting a boy. Two other men have accused Fine of molesting them, but federal prosecutors said the statute of limitations had expired. Fine, fired in November, has not been charged and denies all claims. Prosecutors and Fine's lawyer declined to comment.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Comments
Rays’ Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Rays’ Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

RHP Ryne Stanek continues to look comfortable and confident as the game opener, retiring all five batters he faced. His six starts now cover a complete game, and he has allowed only two runs in the nine innings.OF Carlos Gomez's feelings about not li...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, June 19

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas2 p.m.ESPNTexas Tech vs. Arkansas7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals c...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

UPDATE, 6:40: Cash said he had a good talk with Hechavarria, and that he understood the situation. Cash said Hechavarria will get to play some, and when he does it will be at short. … RHP Chris Archer (abdominal strain) is slated to throw a bul...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

CF Kevin Kiermaier is here in Houston and will work out with the Rays today, and said that if all goes well he will be activated on Tuesday.That would be a couple days ahead of his most recent timetable, which had him slated to return to Friday.Kierm...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: Tips on targeting American Red Snapper

American Red Snapper (ARS) season opened a few days ago and some types of bottom are holding bigger schools of ARS then other bottom types. The hard bottom areas that most fishermen prefer are holding large schools of ARS, but the fish have yet to m...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Former U.S. players not cool with Landon Donovan championing Mexico

Former U.S. players not cool with Landon Donovan championing Mexico

MOSCOW — Mexico is in the World Cup, the United States is not, and to former U.S. national team star Landon Donovan, American fans without a rooting interest should support their chief rivals.Saturday morning, in a tweet sponsored by Wells Fargo, Don...
Updated: 9 hours ago