When five-star 2011 shooting guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) decommitted from the Florida Gators in April, fans and skeptics began assuming the worst – that fellow five-star SG Bradley Beal (St. Louis, MO) would follow suit and leave the program. Instead, Rivers’ departure has maintained Beal’s commitment to Florida, perhaps even strengthening it.
“It’s still solid as I know of right now,” Beal told Rivals last week. “I still talk to coach [Billy] Donovan every week and talk to the rest of the staff pretty much every week so I’m still solid with them. I like their style of play really. I found a system that really fits me best. The offense is great and I like the defense because it’s full court and it’s always up and down.”
Rivers’ decommitment and naming of the Duke Blue Devils as his new leader was not surprising and most consider his chances of rejoining the Gators’ class as slim. However, his decision has also propelled Beal – a top five recruit in the nation in his own right – into the limelight as the prize of Florida’s 2011 recruiting session.
Beal is currently competing with the USA Basketball Men’s U-17 National Team and scored 29 points on nine-of-18 shooting while going five-for-nine from downtown and a perfect six-for-six from the line in a loss to Russia’s U-18 team on Sunday in Lithuania.
Photo Credit: Wiley Price/The St. Louis American