Not only did Chicago prep hoops standout Patrick Beverley get to see the University of Arkansas' win over Alabama Tuesday on ESPN, but he also got to see the Razorbacks' take down of then-No. 7 Florida just a few days earlier.
He came away very impressed.
"I actually got to see both the Alabama and Florida games on TV and those games really got my attention," Beverley said. "They did a great job in closing out those games and their crowd was just crazy and really into it. I love the way they were playing up-tempo and aggressive and attacking just like we do with my high school team."
Beverley (6-2, 175), a Marshall High combo guard who is leading the city of Chicago in scoring at 36 points per game, says he has a final three of Arkansas, Michigan and St. John's.
"That's where I am at," Beverley said. "It will be one of those three. But I am not going to take any visits until the season is over. My team is all I am focused on right now."
He got the opportunity to size a pair of them up via an ESPN doubleheader on Tuesday night when Michigan upset visiting Illinois in the early game and the homesteading Razorbacks rallied from 18 down in the second half to whip the Crimson Tide.
"Arkansas has a much bigger and better arena than Michigan," Beverley said. "That's one thing I n oticed. Michigan played a great game, but their fans weren't into it like Arkansas' were. They were just going nuts. That's a great atmosphere."
Beverley, whose team is ranked No. 1 or 2 in the state depending on the polls, had 39 points in a 78-64 upset loss to Washington on Wednesday night in the Chi cago Public League semifinals.
That means the Commandos (25-2) - who got hit with a 33-8 run in the first half - will not play again until Tuesday night when they open state tournament play.
"I will give their team a lot of credit, but I do think it was more about our team just showing up too laid back and thinking we were just going to roll," Beverley said. "We gave up way too many easy lay ups and let them get their confidence and couldn't get it done."
Beverley, who had a career-high 48 points a week ago, had 18 points in the final six minutes of Wednesday night's loss and came within a single tally of his eighth game of 40 points or more this season.
"I've just tried to play as hard as I can on both offense and defense this season and give my team the best chance to win," Beverley said. "I think for the most part we have been there and done and that every night."
Beverley has been selected to play in the Roundball Classic April 9 in his hometown, but was not one of the McDonald's All-American selections.
He might have been if he had played more AAU ball last summer and gotten more national attention then, but he played just two tournaments for Mean Streets, which was coached by former Michigan football star Tai Streets.
"I played in the Kingswood Classic and the Bob Gibbons one, but I just really wanted to enjoy my summer so that's what I did," Beverley said. "I am glad I made that decision and I think I was fresher and more ready for my senior season that way."
Beverley, who sports a 3.2 grade point average, knows that people think Streets was or is probably building up Michigan.
"People think he is just a football player, but he really knows his basketball," Beverley said. "He's a great guy, but really he has told me a few things, but out of respect for me hasn't tried to push me to Michigan. I will make my own decision on what is best for me."
Beverley, who would continue a line of Chicago players who have flourished at Arkansas if that is where he chooses to go, wants to finish up strong and then take his three visits to Fayetteville, Ann Arbor and New York.
"I'm only worried about our season and winning it all right now, but I know I will be very excited once it is done to make the visits," Beverley said. "I know I'm excited about getting to Arkansas after what I have seen here lately."
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