Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida guard Bradley Beal taken third overall by Washington Wizards in NBA draft

Bradley Beal's "extremely difficult decision" to leave Florida after his freshman season paid big dividends Thursday as the guard was selected third overall by the Wizards in the NBA draft.

Only fellow SEC alumni, and freshmen, Anthony Davis (No. 1 to Hornets) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2 to Bobcats) of Kentucky went ahead of Beal. It's the first time the top three picks have come from the same conference since Brad Daugherty (North Carolina), Len Bias (Maryland) and Chris Washburn (N.C. State) from the ACC went in 1986.

Beal joins a Wizards squad led by former Kentucky point guard John Wall.

"We started to have to fit pieces around John that can make John a better player as well as our team," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said at the draft in Newark, N.J. "The icing on the cake for me was … (Beal) comes from a great family, a strong family. And he's a great character person."

Wall also endorsed Beal.

"So many people wanted to get him, and I'm glad that we had the opportunity to pick him," Wall said. "He's somebody that can make shots, and he helps spread the court for you."

Beal started all 32 games for Florida, averaging 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in being named first-team All-SEC.

"I think he has the ability to end up being a combo guard," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "He's got NBA range. He's athletic. He's strong. And I 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."

Beal also celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday.

"This is, by far, the best birthday that I've ever had," he said. "This really beats all the presents my mom and dad ever got me."

Beal is the second Gator taken third overall. Al Horford went to Atlanta in 2007. Neal Walk remains the highest drafted Gator, No. 2 to the Suns in 1969.

"It was real tough to give (school) up," Beal said, "but I knew I had to chase my dream."

As expected, the draft started with Davis going to the Hornets. The center will play in the same city where he led Kentucky to the national title in April.

"The first thing I said after (the Hornets won the draft lottery) was it would be great to win another championship in New Orleans," Davis said.

The intrigue started at No. 2. The Bobcats had five offers for the pick, reported Thursday afternoon. Instead, they took Kidd-Gilchrist ("I was shocked when they called my name," the shooting guard said), making Kentucky the first school to have the top two picks.

In 1969, UCLA had Nos. 1 (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and 3 (Lucius Allen). In 2002, Duke had Nos. 2 (Jay Williams) and 3 (Mike Dunleavy). And in 2004, Connecticut had Nos. 2 (Emeka Okafor) and 3 (Ben Gordon).

After Beal, Cleveland took Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters. Power forward Thomas Robinson of Kansas, who hoped to go second, fell to Sacramento at No. 5.

"It is a bit of a surprise," he said. "I didn't work out for Sacramento at all. I probably talked to them about once. But I'm here, so I'm meant to be here."

At No. 19, the Magic took 6-foot-9 St. Bonaventure power forward Andrew Nicholson. As a senior, he averaged 18.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in being named Atlantic 10 player of the year.

"They like my versatility. They like my length and my size," Nicholson told the Orlando Sentinel. "I'm just ready to come in and contribute to the team. I'm very excited right now."

Nicholson also fits the mold of the Magic's outside shooting big men, having shot 43 percent on 3-pointers last season.

"He's a humble, high-character player who's committed to working hard and playing within a team concept," general manager Rob Hennigan said in a statement released by the team. "We're intrigued by his cerebral, instinctual approach to the game."

With its other pick, No. 49, the Magic took Norfolk State power forward Kyle O'Quinn. The 6-10, 240-pounder burst onto the national scene in March, when he recorded 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the No. 15 seed Spartans past No. 2 seed Missouri in the NCAA Tournament.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Florida guard Bradley Beal taken third overall by Washington Wizards in NBA draft 06/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 12:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility


    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  3. Bucs-Vikings: What if O.J. Howard and Dalvin Cook had both been taken?


    So what if the Bucs had taken neither O.J. Howard nor Dalvin Cook with the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Wish the Bucs had taken Dalvin Cook? Read this


    It will happen sometime Sunday afternoon.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball in the second quarter Monday night, Sept. 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.  (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
  5. Bucs-Vikings: What could make Tampa Bay's defense elite again


    TAMPA — The last time the Bucs had a top-five defense also happens to be when they last appeared in the postseason.

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]