Back in the fall, Brad Beal had emerged as a guy that was going to get plenty of high major looks in the class of 2011. Now, after a monster sophomore year that included a state championship and a terrific spring on the grassroots circuit, the Saint Louis prospect has emerged has emerged as a priority recruit. Not only that, he's looking forward to the opportunity he'll have to represent his country this summer.
A humble kid who is yet to reach his 16th birthday, Beal says that he's felt the impact of all the increased attention on his game and recruitment.
"People sort of notice me more and I'm starting to get put out there more," said Beal. "People are starting to know who I am and what I can do. It seems like people are keying on me more."
Standing nearly 6-foot-4, Beal is a long armed and skilled wing scorer. He can put the ball on the floor, gets to the rim, has an advanced mid range game and can bomb away from three. He's also proud of the way he and his Chaminade teammates fought to win a championship despite putting mostly sophomores on the floor.
"It was real big. It gives us confidence to know that we have the ability to do it, especially with the team we had last year," said Beal of his title. "We have just about everybody coming back so it will be alright."
So far this spring, Beal has participated in four tournaments with the Saint Louis Eagles. Not surprisingly, he's played in four championships (winning two) and is developing a reputation as a clutch player.
Two weekends ago, Beal played one of those championship games in Lawrence where he and his teammates lost a one point game in the final two seconds. A Kansas recruit, Beal knew that some people would be out to watch him.
"People told me that it was going to happen and that people were going to come watch me play," said Beal of his time in Lawrence. "Everybody is a big Jayhawk fan in Kansas, so I knew people were going to come watch me play. But, I was still real surprised with all the people who came to watch me play."
Not sure of the exact impact the warm reception he got in Lawrence will have on his recruitment, Beal -- who is also being chased by the likes of Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Purdue, Texas and others -- admitted that it did leave an impression on him.
"It does mean a lot," said Beal of the support he received in Lawrence. "It means that the fans love the team and love the basketball players a lot."
Originally planning to make an early decision, Beal says that he's actually put the brakes on his recruitment. Having blown up like he did, he says that there's so many schools looking to get involved that he wants to take more time to build relationships and make sure he's doing the right thing.
With his recruitment on temporary hold, Beal wants to focus his attention on USA Basketball for the time being. Having been invited to the national 16 and under team tryouts in early June, he's hoping to make the squad and travel to Argentina to compete for his country.
"It really is exciting," said Beal of the opportunity with Team USA. "It means that if I go to the NBA one day, then maybe I'll be able to play with the Olympic team. It's really exciting, but I can't get too excited or too big headed because I'm representing my country and I can't go out there and embarrass us."