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If it’s possible, Florida’s Brad Beal flying under the radar


Mike Miller

There’s no shortage of incoming freshmen earning acclaim as impact players. UConn just got one in Andre Drummond. Duke expects Austin Rivers to be its primary scorer. Kentucky has three of ‘em in Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

It’s no surprise that all five made Dick Vitale’s Dandy Dozen list. But I’m starting to wonder if Brad Beal – ranked below all five by Vitale – is getting overlooked. Well, as overlooked as a consensus Top 10 recruit can be.

Beal is 6-3, perhaps the class’ best shooter, strong, smart and tough. He’s played with Team USA, earned numerous honors and figures to be a fantastic weapon for Billy Donovan at Florida.

But I guess that’s the problem. The Gators are loaded at guard -- returning starters Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton will team with Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario to form a backcourt that won’t shy away from taking every available shot.

Yet as Mike DeCourcy points out, Florida might be better served if Beal were the primary option because he’ll almost certainly be a more efficient scorer. Instead, Beal will likely be forced into some role on the wing that usually involves guarding bigger guys and deferring to more experienced teammates.

Would the same be expected of him if he had the same kind of hype surrounding Rivers? Maybe not. But that’s probably a good thing. The less attention (read: pressure) on a freshmen, the better.

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