Bradley Beal was a part of the 2011-12 Gator?s men?s basketball team where he averaged 14.8 points per game, went on to win six SEC Freshman of the Week honors, was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, and was a first-team All-SEC selection.
In April of 2012, Beal declared for the NBA Draft?where the Washington Wizards would pick him up third overall on June 28th.
It didn?t take long for Beal to make his mark on the NBA, receiving the honor of Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in December 2012 and January 2013; his first season also consisted of an appearance in the Rising Stars competition at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game and he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
In just his second season of NBA play, Beal says the transition to the NBA from college hoops took a huge toll on his body.
?The length of the season, in college is only 30 games, the NBA 82, so it?s definitely two and a half seasons in one, and for your body to be able to take that beating every night and being mentally prepared each game is hard,? explains Beal.
Despite the both mentally and physically tough transition, Beal says he has really improved his ball handling and defense.
?My defense is going to continue to get better and better, I always have room to improve on that and on offense as well, just being more aggressive and being able to play in pick and rolls,? states Beal.
This season Beal is averaging 17 points per game, 3.3 assists per game, and 14.6 player -efficiency rating. He also finished as runner-up in the 3 Point?Shootout at the 2014 NBA All-Star weekend. Beal says the competition was a fun experience for him.
?It was great just the fact that I was able to go against my teammates every day in practice, competing every day and shooting kind of helped me a little bit. It was definitely fun. I was a little nervous at first but once I got going it became a lot more fun and hopefully I will get to do it for years to come,? says Beal.
When Beal was a part of the Gators, Florida fell to Louisville in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. With the Gator?s claiming their marks as SEC champions and earning the No. 1 Overall seed in the NCAA tournament this season, when asked if he thinks the Gators are going to win it all this year, he sees no reason why they won?t.
?I definitely believe so. They are staying humble and still playing hard each night, and they take each game one game at a time and they are definitely?playing hard, so I believe this is another great year for us,? Beal said.
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