Little more than a year ago, Bradley Beal was contemplating whether he should leave for the NBA or stay at Florida and take a shot at winning a national title. He counseled with his family and Florida Coach Billy Donovan, weighed the pros and cons, then decided that he was ready for the next level – at age 18.
“I can still remember all my conversations with Coach Donovan,” Beal said, shaking his head. “This year went really fast, probably the fastest year of basketball I’ve ever played. It’s definitely been a fun year.”
In his first season in the league, the now 19-year-old Beal proved to be a worthy choice as the third overall pick with the Wizards. And on Wednesday, the league recognized his performance as Beal finished third in voting for rookie of the year behind Portland’s Damian Lillard and New Orleans big man Anthony Davis.
Lillard received all 121 first-place votes and became fourth rookie – and second in the past 23 years – to win unanimously after leading all rookies in scoring (19.0 points) and assists (6.5) and all NBA players in total minutes. Beal received 14 second-place votes and 52 third-place votes to finish with 94 points.
Beal finished with the 10th highest scoring average for a rookie in Wizards/Bullets franchise history, just above Wes Unseld, at 13.9 points per game. He also set a rookie franchise record with 91 made three-pointers.
“You never know what you’re going to get, or how quickly things will come to a 19 year old, who has played one year of college,” Coach Randy Wittman said recently. “But he did show a great sense of adjusting quickly to what was happening around him, through everything. The thing that was impressive was, I saw, each time he got another second time around with an individual or a team, he learned and he improved and he got smarter with what he had to do.”