Billy Donovan took no chances. On the eve of the Brad Beal announcement, the Gators flew into St. Louis and watched a Chaminade practice. This one, this commitment, was important to Donovan. Beal is his kind of guy.
Nate Latsch reported back from the conference that Beal wanted to play with Austin Rivers and wanted to commit to Florida after he visited there. His affection for the Gators has been over a year in the making.
On Monday morning, Scout.com's No. 10 junior in the nation, announced his pledge to be a Gator. Missouri, Kansas (runner-up) and Illinois provided the final competition but it was the Gators who despite holding the behind-the-scenes lead early, rallied and staved off the competition to close on one of their key recruits.
"I really liked the school a lot when I visited," Beal said. "I wanted to commit when I first went there, but I decided to wait and visit other schools. In the end it was the perfect match for me."
The Gators own a soft commitment from 2011 guard Austin Rivers. The son of Doc Rivers committed to the Gators on July 3, 2008. He's since visited Duke. Beal would give Donovan his second Top 10 player in the junior class and third elite player in the last two classes. Patric Young, a potential McDonald's All-American signed a few weeks ago.
Nate Latsch of Billiken Report contributed to this story