Bradley Beal on being a top-five NBA pick: 'Tremendous feeling'
This is what Bradley Beal knows will happen Thursday. He will turn 19. He officially will become a millionaire. And he will be handed a hat with an NBA logo on it -- he's just not sure which one.
Beal won't be taken with the No. 1 pick in tonight's NBA draft in Newark -- Kentucky's Anthony Davis seems to have a lock on that honor -- but the freshman sharpshooter from Florida is expected to fly off the board to the Charlotte Bobcats at No. 2, Washington Wizards at No. 3 or Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4.
"I never thought I would be in a situation going as high as I am now," said the 6-5 shooting guard. "It's just a tremendous feeling."
Beal, who averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists at Florida, was the subject of nonstop chatter through the NBA Finals and rumors continued to swirl about him on Wednesday. The Wizards are very interested in pairing Beal with John Wall, while the Cavaliers, who have the No. 4 and No. 24 picks, are rumored to have offered both picks to Charlotte.
The Cavaliers believe they could have one of the most formidable backcourts in the league by taking Beal and pairing him with Kyrie Irving, the point guard out of Duke whom the Cavaliers took with their No. 1 overall pick last year.
"The whole thing is a little nerve racking, the not knowing with teams trying to trade up" Beal said. "I hope I know before the draft when I am going, but I'm not sure. It's going to get real interesting. I'm very curious to see where I'm going to end up."
At a news conference for top draft picks Wednesday in New York City, Beal repeatedly was asked whom he would rather play with, Wall or Irving, and he refused to say that he liked one player better than the other. He did, however, say that the workout that Cleveland ran him through stood out from the ones he had in Charlotte and Washington.
"In Cleveland, it was really competitive," he said, explaining that they had him go one-on-one with fellow draft prospect Harrison Barnes of North Carolina. "We both had a great workout."
Beal, who had a 3.8 grade-point average at Florida, has the same kind of baby face as Ray Allen, a player he is often compared to. There's nothing baby-like about Beal's style of play, however. As the smallest of five brothers, two of whom played Division I football, Beal learned how to take care of himself early.
His mother, Besta, used to take him to the YMCA basketball court at night and make him drive to the basket past his 230-pound plus brothers. Now, those brothers will be on hand Thursday night to help him celebrate.
Said Beal: "It's just a great feeling for all of us."