Losing the verbal commitment of point guard Austin Rivers was a blow to Florida’s 2011 recruiting class.
But 2011 UF oral commit Bradley Beal is putting together a summer that could soften the disappointment of Rivers’ change of heart.
Beal nailed seven-of-nine 3-pointers for the U.S. 17-under team, scoring a game-high 25 points Friday in a quarterfinal win over Austalia in the FIBA 17-under World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
He did it in front of Florida coach Billy Donovan and UF assistant Rob Lanier, who both traveled to Germany to ensure that Beal sticks to his promise. Beal, a smooth-shooting, 6-foot-3 guard from St. Louis, said a few weeks ago he still expects to sign a letter of intent with the Gators this November.
Beal is averaging a team-high 18.3 points for Team USA. But he’s more than a scorer.
“Where Beal can make the biggest impact for (Florida) is on the defensive end of the floor,” Scout.com national recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. “He has the size to guard players on the wing and the quickness to match up with point guards, shooting guards. He’s an excellent perimeter defender.”
Beal and Rivers are both consensus top-1o national recruits. Rivers is leaning toward Duke and North Carolina since re-opening his recruitment, but hasn’t ruled out signing with the Gators.
If Florida can convince both to sign, it could set up the top 2011 freshman backcourt tandem in the nation. But for now, the goal is to lock up Beal first.