NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28: Bradley Beal of the Florida Gators walks off stage after he was selected number three overall by the Washington Wizards during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Few know Bradley Beal better than his college coach, Billy Donovan. That makes his insight valuable, especially because he can speak on some of the strengths of Beal's game that are missed with a surface analysis.
Donovan shared some of those insights on "Holden and Danny" on 106.7 The Fan. One thing he said is that he thinks Beal may have a bit of an adjustment in his first year.
"I think Brad will have an adjustment with the NBA three-point line," Donovan said. "I think all those guys do when they get up there. It's the same way in college. Most guys don't shoot to their capabilities as freshman, and many guys, probably most guys don't shoot to their capabilities as rookie. But I think that, as he puts in the time and effort, he's going to be a terrific three-point shooter."
Part of that logic has to do with the fact that Beal had an adjustment to make in college. Donovan explained that the Florida roster, combined with Beal's own unselfishness, contributed to his difficult start.
"One of the things that was difficult for Brad is that we lost our frontcourt last year. We lost Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin, and then we lost Alex Tyus. Our starting backcourt was coming back in Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker. We had some returning players. Patric Young was a sophomore, Eric Murphy was a junior. [But] Brad was the only freshman that came in last year that played," Donovan said.
"So when he came in, I think, for the most part in October when we started practicing, it was really him trying to find his way. He's such a team chemistry guy, he wants to win, he doesn't want to step on anyone's toes, he's not arrogant, he's not a cocky kid. He's always been interested in earning his respect inside of the team. So I think that, when we started playing, I think for him, playing with two veteran backcourt players that logged a lot of minutes, he was trying to figure out how to fit in there. Then, I think that, as time went on, he gained some more confidence."
The appeal of Beal, Donovan said, is that he can play with other great players, unlike other young stars who often star by themselves. Donovan noted that Beal won the MVP of the Under-17 World Championships in 2010, on a team that featured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tony Wroten, Andre Drummond and other draft picks.
"A lot of times, you have young players that haven't really played with other great players. They don't know how to fit in; they don't know how to play. Brad Beal does."
One final note: Donovan revealed that Beal was a "pre-med major" that earned a 3.5 GPA last year. This isn't entirely accurate, since you can only be on the pre-med track if you're a freshman. My guess is Donovan was saying he took intro-level science classes and fared well on them. (I'm also told Florida doesn't technically have a pre-med major). Still, that's pretty impressive.