Disappointed but not surprised. That was my reaction to hearing that Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal announced he will enter the NBA draft this summer.
“It was the right time for me,” Beal said. “Coach (Billy Donovan) told me whatever you decide, when you decide make sure you’re at peace with it. … I wanted to make sure I was comfortable with the decision, comfortable telling coach and making the final decision because I knew there was no turning back.”
Bale is the first one-and-done player for the Gators since Donnell Harvey departed following the 2000 season, in which Florida reached the national championship game for the first time in school history.
While Harvey never lived up to huge expectations in the pros, Beal’s situation is much different. He was a starter for all 37 games this past season and was arguably the best player on the Gators. Various services have him going as one of the top five selections.
Donovan said he gave Beal “space” to make his own decision, the two meeting three times to talk about the decision.
“Since the end of the season Brad and I have had a chance to meet several times and really talk about this decision,” Donovan said. “I have to say that maybe more than any other player that I have coached, he may have been as mature as any player I’ve ever been around in terms of how he’s looking at this decision and this process.
“It was well thought out by him. I don’t think he was influenced by anybody. He had great support. And people really gave him space to make his decision. On Monday he and I had a good long talk.”
I cannot blame Beal for wanting to got to the NBA and get the money that will make his family financially secure. The only reason he did not go to the NBA straight out of high school was because he could not under the current CBA.
The one-and-done is a huge topic right now in college basketball, and it has to be a huge dilemma for Billy Donovan.
Do you follow the strategy of Kentucky coach John Calipari and sign all these top ranked players, knowing that in most cases they will be on campus for only a year? Or do you not target these elite players but instead go for ones who you expect to have for three to four years so you can build a team around them?
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