UF hoops notebook: Touted guard Beal signs

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.

Florida landed one of the top prospects in the country Wednesday, inking 6-foot-3 shooting guard Bradley Beal to a national letter of intent for the 2011 freshman class.

Beal, from St. Louis, Mo., is rated as the second-best player at his position and seventh overall in the Class of 2011 by ESPN.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

"Clearly, I feel like we signed one of the best guards in the country," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We're extremely excited about adding Brad. We believe he's a special player and a winner, and excited that he's going to be a part of our program."

Last July, Beal was named MVP at the FIBA Under-17 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, averaging 18.3 points per game while shooting 47.7 percent from 3-point range.

Beal averaged 29 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in his junior season at Chaminade Prep in St. Louis. He attended the same high school as former Gator forward and current NBA All-Star David Lee.

Florida has two more scholarships available for the 2011 class, though no other signings are expected to be announced this week.

Wilbekin probable

Freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin (strained neck) returned to practice Tuesday and is probable for Friday's season-opener against UNC-Wilmington.

"I would say right now for Friday's game, we're expecting him to play," Donovan said.

Wilbekin, a Gainesville native, sat out UF's second preseason game against Georgetown, Ky., after injuring his neck going for a loose ball in the preseason opener against Florida Tech.

"I'd say he probably practiced (full-contact) half the time," Donovan said. "We'd like to get him in there a little bit more (Wednesday) and then we're hoping Thursday he's full go, the entire practice."

Donovan said the injury affected Wilbekin's conditioning because he was unable to start running until a few days ago. If Wilbekin can't play, Donovan said he would turn to a point guard rotation of Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and walk-on Kyle McClanahan.

"If that wasn't working we could probably slide Chandler (Parsons) back there and play Chandler a little bit and try to initiate and start offense for us," Donovan said.

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