It’s been a tough four-game stretch for heralded Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal.
Beal has struggled in all phases in the game during his current funk, averaging just 10 points per game while shooting 29.8 percent from the floor and 14.3 percent from 3-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio during that span is 9-to-14.
But the 6-foot-3 St. Louis native is trying to remain upbeat.
“Just basically staying confident, just relaxing and playing basketball,” Beal said Monday.”I’ve been going through a lot but I’m not really letting if affect my mentality. I’m really just trying to be mentally tough and fight through it.”
Beal said he’s often his own harshest critic. As a result, Beal said he sometimes gets down on himself. Florida coach Billy Donovan has noticed that with Beal’s body language, and said the he needs to learn to fight through negative plays to move on to the next play.
For Beal, who was named Gatorade High School player of the year last April, it’s been a hard process.
“I hardly ever faced (adversity) so this is very new to me,” said Beal, who averaged 32.5 ppg his senior year of high school. “High school I really didn’t face too much. The first couple of games when I wasn’t playing too well I was down on myself and Coach Donovan was saying it’s going to be tough like that. I really just have to keep my head and stay mentally tough.”
Beal said he’s been dealing with a sinus infection over the holidays. Beal said he feels like he’s adjusted to the speed of the game but, “It’s (more) physical now,” Beal said. “I’m just basically staying lower to the ground and being more explosive than what I was earlier in the year.”
Beal said he hasn’t done anything to try to alter his shooting mechanics. A 42-percent 3-point shooter coming out of high school, Beal is shooting 31.4 percent from 3-point range so far this season.
“I’m just trying to get more reps in, trying to stay consistent,” Beal said. “It’s just trying to get in a rthythm, trying to get a flow back.”
Beal also said he’s going over film, trying to cut down on turnovers. Beal has combined for 22 turnovers in UF’s four losses this season. “If I commit a dumb foul or turn the ball over when I knew I should have done something else with the ball, I question myself and I watch it on film,” Beal said. “I’m like ‘Dang, why did I do that?’ When I go back it’s just learning experience and I’m trying to learn from it.”
– Florida suffered another blow on the big man recruiting front when Pittsburgh power forward transfer Khem Birch picked UNLV over the Gators on Monday. The Gators will now turn their focus to 2012 power forward prospect Anthony Bennett, who remains unsigned. Bennett has Florida in his final five with Kentucky, UNLV, Washington and Oregon. Some think that Bennett, a fellow Canadian who is close friends with Birch, may follow Birch to UNLV. We’ll see.
— Florida’s NCAA RPI currently stands at No. 53. The Gators dropped from a 35 RPI following their 67-56 road loss at Tennessee last Saturday.