When he made his commitment to play basketball for Billy Donovan's Florida Gators in late November, Brad Beal figured things would slow down a bit. Sold on what the Gators had to offer, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard from St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade decided to end the suspense early in part so he could focus on his junior season without the pressure of being recruited.
Little did Beal know, the pressure would still be there but nation's second rated shooting guard prospect in the class of 2011 is dealing with it just fine as he looks to improve.
"The pressure hasn't gone away because there's still a lot of coaches going after me," said Beal. "There's also a lot of people coming out to see who this kid is that committed to Florida early and whatnot. So it hasn't gone away because I still have to prove to myself and people what I can do."
Beal admits that there have been the occasional letters and calls from other schools looking to change his mind. He also says that people around his hometown have suggested that he might want to re-evaluate his decision. However, he makes it clear that he's not looking to change his mind or open things back up.
"It's not too hard because I'm really sold on Florida," Beal told Fightin' Gators. "It's a school I really want to go to. For a coach coming in to try and recruit me, they'd really have to convince me to get me to change my mind."
Well known for his scoring ability, Beal hasn't disappointed as a junior while averaging nearly 30 points per outing. Long lauded for his ability to strip the nets from three point range, he's looked to diversify his game a bit and has become much more aggressive in taking the ball to the basket and showing off his improved explosiveness to the rim.
"When my shot isn't really falling like I want to I need something else," said Beal. "I've been attacking the basket more and trying to get to the free throw line. That's my thing, keep attacking and stay in the game."
Throughout his recruitment, much was also made about Beal's relationship with fellow 2011 Gator commit Austin Rivers. According to Beal, he hasn't gotten to talk to Rivers much lately but he likes the idea of playing with him in college.
"We're both really good guards and near the top of our class," said Beal. "We really compete and we both really love to win. That's what Coach Donovan likes about us most. I think we could really come together and make a big difference for the Florida program."
Now that he's been able to clear the air in regards to his commitment, Beal is just looking forward to working on his game. Already solid on each end of the floor, he understands that there is always room for improvement and he's doing his best to make sure he's in tip top shape for his 2011 arrival in Gainesville.
"I'm focusing on my conditioning first of all. It's a bigger court so I'll have to get that down," said Beal. "Other than that, I'm really focusing on my quickness and ability to pressure out on the perimeter. I really want to be able to get after it and force a lot of turnovers."