Beal moves up

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Florida incoming 2011 freshman shooting guard Brad Beal moved up in the latest ESPNU Top 100 prospects rankings released Thursday.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound  Beal was rated the fourth best overall prospect in the nation following his 17-point, 5-rebound performance in the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago last week.

Beal, named Gatorade National Player of the year earlier this week, trailed just top overall prospect Anthony Davis  (6-10, 200, c, Kentucky), No. 2 prospect Austin Rivers (6-4, 189, pg-sg, Duke) and No. 3 prospect Michael Gilchrist (6-7, 210, f, Kentucky).

Rivers made a verbal commitment to Florida as a high-school freshman but changed his mind and signed with Duke last November.

Florida’s second 2011 commitment, 6-9 forward Walter Pitchford, did not crack the top 100. Pitchford is expected to sign his letter of intent to UF next week. Beal, who signed last November, was the 7th ranked prospect in the nation earlier this year.

Beal’s arrival will create an interesting dilemma for Florida coach Billy Donovan next season. With starting guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton returning, Beal could wind up coming off the bench his freshman season.  Unless, of course, Donovan elects to start Boynton, Walker and Beal together and go with three guards in the starting lineup.

Donovan last went with a three-guard starting lineup in 2007-08, with Nick Calathes, Walter Hodge and Jai Lucas joining Dan Werner and Marreese Speights. Florida started with a promising 18-3 record before losing eight of their next 11 games, failing to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

With Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario eligible and Scottie Wilbekin back for his sophomore year, there will be more than enough  in the backcourt next season. But Donovan will need to manage minutes carefully to keep everyone happy. Overall, though, it’s a good dilemma for Donovan to have.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I heard coach D also mentioned possibly going with 4 perimeter players on the court at one time. Against smaller team that seems like a workable thing but we will need some size when SEC play starts.

  2. Unless Rosario shows up big time, I see him sitting the bench as he is obviously not going anywhere. Then we got to worry about Wilbelkin cause I think he is going to be more and more solid for us heading down the road.

  3. Boynton or Wilbekin at Point guard, Rosario and Beal at shooting guard,
    and Walker off the bench gives us the best chance. If anybody watched Pitchfords video he can reall stroke the ball also at 6-10. Walker showed in the game against Butler that he is not a potential championship winner at point guard. Tried to but failed to take over the game..made 7 bad decisions in the last 3 minutes of the game and overtime combined. I hope Billy learns from Kentucky and Conneticut to play the best people early in the year and not always the most experienced gives you the best championship chance.

  4. Rosario avgeraged 16 points per game in Big East first two years, so obviously hes going to show up big time!! No matter who starts its going to be billy ball with full court press and not worrying about anyone getting tired cause he can just sub in for players. Beal can defend alot of SF so he will be getting time there as well

  5. Definately Billy Ball, we will have a 2000 feel, with waves of guards and forwards off the bench (4 at a time) Wow, first team vs second team in practice will be like a tournament game. This will be ag really good team if witford and young gel. Still think we will have trouble figuring who gets the ball for the winning shot but the good thing is either we blow teams out more than having close games. This will be a special team. Mark it….

  6. One additional thought… With Wilbekin only 17 years old, do you think he could top out at 6-4 instead of the 6-2 he’s listed? He’s really impressive, advanced, is going to be a great Gator player. If we go three guards, where does Prather fit? We look to be about one established front court guy away, too: how good will Larson be? We’re going to be this close to having one of the best teams in the country. Can’t wait to discover all the answers ahead!

  7. I think, if Billy does go with a 3 Guard lineup, based on this season and previous ones, the starting lineup should be PG Rosario, Boynton and Walker as the other 2 guards, with Young and Murphy/Yeguette (depending on who grows more this offseason). I would have Beal playing significant minutes off the bench along with Wilbekin. I say start Beal on the bench because if he starts too soon it may inhibit his growth. I think that is what happened to Boynton he started too soon (granted our other option was starting Ray Shipman so it’s not like Billy had much of a choice). It took KB 1.5 years to start defining himself and becoming more consistent. Not every freshman can be a Brandon Knight or Terrence Jones or Jared Sullinger. Most need to grow into the college game. Let Beal grow into his role to take over when Walker leaves. Look at Wilbekin, came off the bench averaging 15-20 minutes a game and he grew so much over the year to be a great contributor…

  8. It is the sword way of thinking with Walker. He is too inconsistent to trust and as a Coach, you need to know what you are getting on the floor, especially as a starter who is one of the leaders of the team. How many more times can he penetrate the lane against guys more than a foot taller and turn the ball over or shot blocked? I am afraid he may even try to do more next year with the 3 seniors gone. A streaky shooter at best, but with his speed and ball handling ability, it should be a natural fit to play as a true point guard. Sorry, I just don’t know any 5′-8″ guys who are scorers. Wilbekin may only be 17 and his minutes were limited, but every second he was on the floor, he knew his limitations, abilities, and was consistent.

  9. Forget the bench guys, Rosario and Beal are one and done. I see next years line up as follows: PG-Rosario and Wilbekin; SG Boynton and Walker; SF- Beal and Prather (if he doesn’t transfer). The PF and C Positions will be a rotation of Ypung (if he keeps his word and doesn’t go pro), Yeguette and Murphy. Larson will be a spot player. The 2012 backcourt will be Wilbekin, Boynton, and the two freshman commits. Pitchford is 6’9″, 215 with a perimeter game. Could he be the next Chandler Parsons at SF. I liked to see them recruit a wide body even if he is redshirted to practice against.

  10. Do not underestimate Cody Larson, he has grown, added weight and strength. Big Mac, Tyson and Chandler spoke very highly of his work ethic and banging on the inside hard. But everyone is right in that next year’s team might have a very good chance to go even further than this year’s team.

  11. Beal and Rosario are going to seriously push Boynton and Walker. I think Beal particularly is just going to be better than Boynton. Gators have to ultimately start Beal. Either 3 guard line-up–Point, Beal and Boynton–, or Boynton ultimately ends up on bench. Don’t underestimate Walker. He was great the 2nd half of the year, and just had a bad game against Butler. (These things happen.) Walker and Boyton were the keys to Gators’ sucess last year, which was obvious in loss to Butler (when they had bad games).

    Key strategy: The smartest thing the Gators could do is redshirt Wilbekin, to let him further develop (not that there is anything really wrong with him now); otherwise, he simply is bound to be the odd man out next year. This would be best move for both Wilbekin and the Gators.

    Murphy and Young will be equal to or better than Parsons and Macklin. Tyus actually will be quite missed.

  12. Yikes! Has everyone forgotten how UConn dominated Butler because of their size? Who’s going to play in the middle and do both rebound and score effectively? Does Young have a shot other than a dunk?

    UF seems to have enough adequate guards……..but where is a decent front line? Murphy gets lost too often and refuses to bang. I wish I was more optimisic, but too few “bigs” that can score regularly.

  13. If you’ve read the latest reports, Murphy and Larson are probably history. Billy better hit the recruiting trail if only to give our front court someone to practice against. Young, Pitchford and Yeguette with no one off the bench is really bad news. Maybe Prather can play PF like that 6’4″ guy up at UT a few years ago.