"The biggest difference is probably my confidence and aggressiveness," Beal said. "Last year I wasn't that aggressive as I was this year. My confidence helped because last year I was nervous about playing on varsity as a freshman and I wasn't used to it."
If Beal's is nervous about playing varsity this year in front of scores of coaches, he's doing a tremendous job of masking it. Over the summer the parade of coaches began. Illinois, Purdue, Florida and Kansas have sent head coaches and he's played in front of them to rave reviews.
Beal has visited those four programs and has also seen Missouri and St. Louis; he watched the Billikens practice. The list is tight and Beal does his best to be proactive with the programs recruiting him.
"I call them at least once a week or every other week. I want to know what I'm dealing with if I decide to go there. I'll ask about who they're recruiting and how they like to play."
Keeping in mind that he's only a sophomore, the attention has been steady and strong. He's a first-tier target for each of the programs mentioned. Still, the focus is on the season at hand, not the schools in line.
"My personal goal is to get better and do better in different areas of the game. Plus, I want the team goal to be to go to state."
Around this time last year, Harrison Barnes was in the midst of a quiet blow up. Beal's situation is taking on the same kind of life of its own. Good player, great season, bright future!