Wizards’ Bradley Beal admits he almost spurned Florida for Duke, idolized JJ Redick
Before turning into one of the best pure scorers in the NBA today, Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal earned his stripes during his impressive one-and-done collegiate stint with the Florida Gators in 2011-12.
As it turns out though, Beal almost spurned the allure of the Florida climate in favor of donning the Blue and White colors of the Duke University Blue Devils.
In a guest appearance on fellow NBA player JJ Redick’s “Old Man and The Three” Podcast, Beal recounted how legendary collegiate coach Mike Krzyzewski still gave him a hard time for picking the Gators over the Devils. The Wizards guard, of course, has reunited with Coach K in recent years as part of Team USA’s basketball program.
“Duke was my dream school. You guys were my dream school,” Bradley Beal told JJ Redick (via 247 Sports) “Coach K busts my balls every day, to this day, every time I see him. ‘You know you should have been in a Duke uniform. I can’t even stand the sight of you. I can’t stand to look at you.’ It’s so funny, every time I see him to this day.
Moreover, Beal shared to Redick that he greatly admired the now Pelicans guard and considered joining Duke to follow his footsteps.
“You (Redick), your craft, your energy, your passion, the cut-off t-shirt under the jersey. That was dope. I was a fan,” he admitted.
Beal was a highly touted recruit after high school, during which he won the 2011 Mr. Show-Me Basketball and the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior for Chaminade College Preparatory School in his home state of Missouri. The 6-foot-3 elite scorer fielded plenty of Division 1 offers. Ultimately, it came down to Florida and Duke, as Beal committed to the Gators who was coached by Billy Donovan at the time.
Beal led the Gators to the Elite Eight in his lone year in Florida before being eliminated by Louisville.
His admiration for Redick’s game is quite relatable, considering he is one of the most decorated collegiate players of all-time and belongs to the Mt. Rushmore of Duke standouts. Beal and Redick even have similarities in their respective games, particularly their outstanding marksmanship from distance.
While Beal has had a more successful individual career in the pros, the Wizards star could emulate Redick’s consistent pedigree of winning.