March 24, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Florida Gators guard Bradley Beal (23) shoots the ball against Louisville Cardinals guard Chris Smith (5) during the second half in the finals of the west region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at US Airways Center. The Cardinals defeated the Gators 72-68. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewickel-US PRESSWIRE
NEW YORK -- There are 31 hours before the start of the 2012 NBA Draft, and Bradley Beal is kind of nervous. He's going to be drafted in the top four, likely to one of the three teams for which he worked out (Bobcats, Wizards, Cavaliers). For most people, that would be exciting. But with the draft upcoming, Beal is starting to realize that he's a wanted man.
"There's teams outside of those three who are trying to come get me."
And while Beal is thrilled that people seem to like him, he admitted that it would be a bit odd for someone else to take him when they never saw him work out.
"I'm hearing teams are trying to trade up, teams that I haven't even worked out for. I don't even know their systems or what type of people they are. So it's really nerve-racking," he said. "But at the same time, you just have to relax and let things happen."
In a one-on-one interview with ESPN's Andy Katz, Beal let slip that the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of those other teams, a fact confirmed by some additional reporting by Katz. But there are undoubtedly more teams trying to trade up, as there are every year.
For now, Beal's doing the best he can to stay level and be happy wherever he goes.
"I think it is," he said when asked if he felt flattered by the attention. "But you still have other guys in the draft who could take Harrison Barnes, Austin Rivers or Dion Waiters. [Teams] could take another two guard. They're not just set on me. But if they do, I'll be happy with it."
Note: Since it's a topic that has been discussed on here, I decided to go and ask Beal himself why he's telling teams and the media that he wants to play some point guard.
"People always tell me I'm undersized. I'm really around six-four and three-quarters, close to 6'5''. No matter what, at the end of the day, I'm going to have to handle the ball more, and I'm more than willing to do that," Beal said. "I know it's one of my weaknesses, and I've been working hard at it during this pre-draft process. My ball-handling is probably the biggest aspect of becoming more of a combo guard."
"I would much rather play the two," he said when I followed up by asking him his preferred position. "But at the end of the day, if I have to play the point, I'll play the point."