'Dollar' Beal hopes to be the 'money man' at Vandy

After taking a weekend official visit to Vanderbilt, 6-3 combo guard Jermaine "Dollar" Beal was sure he was ready to become a Commodore. The DeSoto (Tex.) star gives the skinny on how it all went down, and peers into his future as a member of Coach Kevin Stallings' basketball squad.

As a junior, Jermaine Beal led DeSoto (Tex.) High School to a 37-4 record and a state championship game appearance. Playing both point guard and shooting guard for the Eagles, he averaged 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

Beal talked with VandyMania Sunday after returning home from his weekend official visit to Vanderbilt.

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VandyMania: Jermaine, Jeff Goodman reported that you made the decision earlier today to commit to Vanderbilt. You must have had a very good visit there. Can you tell us how it all went down?

Jermaine Beal: It was good. I arrived on Friday morning, and on Friday I got a tour of the campus, the basketball gym and the weight room. Friday night I was just hanging out with the whole team, just chillin', walking around on campus. Saturday I went to a tailgate, and I met the athletic director. We watched the [football] game, and after the game we stopped by Coach Stallings' house for about two hours, playing pool and stuff. On Saturday night, me and Mario Moore, Shan Foster and Red (Alex Gordon) we all went to a studio, and messed around there and had fun.

VM: Was this a recording studio where they make country music or something like that?

Jermaine: No, it was a rap studio. Mario knew somebody who worked there. This morning I woke up, ate breakfast, and the whole team was there to meet with me. So I committed this morning.

VM: So, you had a meeting with Coach Stallings today? And he just asked if you were ready to commit?

Jermaine: Right. Well, at first, I was like, let me go home and think about it. But then after I saw the whole team and all the coaches there, I was like... well, I knew this was where I wanted to go, a long, long time ago. So I finally said, well, let me go ahead and do it right now.

VM: Your mom and dad were with you this weekend... do they like your decision too?

Jermaine: Yes sir.

VM: You also made a trip two weeks ago to Oklahoma. Tell us what it was about Vanderbilt that you liked better than Oklahoma.

Jermaine: There were a lot of schools that were showing interest in me, but one thing Vanderbilt had that the other schools didn't have was that Vanderbilt is going in the right direction. Vanderbilt has a big upside to it.

VM: You're speaking of the whole basketball program?

Jermaine: Yeah. I didn't feel like some of the other schools were going in the right direction... like getting in trouble, stuff like that. At Vanderbilt everybody is cool. It's like a great atmosphere.

VM: And you felt very at home with the players who were there already?

Jermaine: Right.

VM: Was anyone else taking an official visit this weekend?

Jermaine: No. It was just me.

VM: For those people who have never seen you play, can you describe what kind of player you are? Your coach described you as a point guard who can really score.

Jermaine: Well, at Vandy I'll be playing point guard. I like to get all of my teammates involved. I can score when it's time to score.

VM: Sounds as though you'll be the guy to try to replace Mario Moore once he graduates.

Jermaine: Yes sir.

VM: Is there a player out there that you really admire, or a familiar player that you think of yourself being a younger version of?

Jermaine: You could say I'm kind of a Ray Allen or Steve Nash kind of player. I can be a distributor, but at certain times, when I'm hot, I'm hot. I could go for 40.

VM: You have a pretty good team coming back at DeSoto. You went all the way to the state championship game last year and came up just two points short. What are your hopes for this year?

Jermaine: The team is going to be smaller this year, but it's going to be a whole lot faster. So there's going to be more turnovers and a faster tempo. Hopefully everybody stays together and plays together. I'm sure we can make it back there again this year.

VM: You have your college decision all made now. No more mystery about that. What are you feeling right now about that?

Jermaine: Both relief and excitement. I'm just happy to get it over with, and happy to be a Commodore.

VM: You have a reputation as a very good student. What do you think you might major in?

Jermaine: Right now I'm thinking about some kind of Business. I'll have to do some research and see what other opportunities I might want to look into.

VM: Your answering message on your cell phone says "Jermaine 'Dollar' Beal." Where does that nickname come from?

Jermaine: Everybody calls me "Dollar" Beal. I guess I'm the "money man."

VM: So, when your team needs a big shot, the ball goes to Dolla' Beal, is that it?

Jermaine: You got it.


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