Beal wore No. 23 at Florida, for his high school team in St. Louis, Chaminade, and for his AAU team, the St. Louis Eagles, which could create a potential situation for the Wizards. Michael Jordan, considered by many the greatest player to lace up a pair of sneakers, wore the same number for Chicago and Washington – though many would rather forget those two years with the Wizards.
The Wizards never formally retired Jordan’s number but no player has donned that jersey since he retired for the final time in 2003. They didn’t necessarily have a plan in place if Beal does fall to them, but Beal has already helped them avoid the trouble.
“I’m not going to wear it,” Beal said, when asked if he would seek the No. 23 if Washington drafted him.
Beal took it a step further and said he would wear a different number in the NBA, no matter where he goes. He only flashed a sly grin when asked about what number he planned to wear in the NBA, but the former Allen Iverson fan also admitted that he previously wore No. 3.
Beal, who turns 19 today, is familiar with Jordan and his great legacy, but he said he never had the privilege of watching him play live.
He met Jordan after his workout for the Bobcats but said: “It wasn’t really nothing too serious. It was just a meet and greet. Nothing really too extraordinary about that. ”
Should some team manage to make a deal with Charlotte for the second pick and take Beal, the Wizards are also considering Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. After acquiring center Emeka Okafor and small forward Trevor Ariza from New Orleans, Washington’s need for perimeter help became more glaringly obvious and appeared to be the ideal fit for Beal.
“Yeah. In my opinion it is,” Beal said of the Wizards, “but there are still other guys they can take. They can take Harrison Barnes or Austin Rivers or Dion Waiters. It’s not just set on me. But if they do, I’ll be more than happy to play for them. It was an interesting trade, but at the end of the day, I have no control over what’s going to happen and I just have to wait and see.”
The 6-foot-4 Beal has been working on his ball-handling — some consider him undersized for the shooting guard position — but he isn’t trying to play point guard in the NBA. And he wouldn’t mind playing alongside John Wall.
“It would be terrific. The way John plays is the way I would love to play, to play fast, get up and down, and he’s a great point guard overall. He can score the ball, pass the ball, play defense, super athletic. Playing alongside him would be great,” Beal said. “I can see it. That would be a good backcourt. With Jordan Crawford, too. Those two guys are really great guys. They love to get up and down. They love to play. That’s the type of style I’d like to play in. I can always see myself playing with John, or any point guard. To play with the Wizards in that backcourt would be terrific.”
Beal said he was too focused on his freshman season at Florida to notice that the Wizards had emerged as somewhat of a league-wide laughingstock last season. “I saw a few times, the big guy, what’s his name, JaVale McGee, did some silly stuff. Other than that, no,” he said. “I never noticed any of that.”
He actually is intrigued by the possibility of helping a team rise from difficult times. “Most definitely,” he said. “Look at Kevin Durant and what he did with the Sonics and then OKC. It’s terrific to be able to come into a situation where they are rebuilding. I can’t go wrong wherever I go.”
But Beal knows that no situation is perfect. After spending a season in Gainesville, Fla., he knows that he will likely have to invest in some sweaters and coats at his next spot. “I’m a warm weather guy, but it looks like I’m not going where it’s warm weather,” Beal said with a huge grin. “I’m used to it, from St. Louis and it gets cold there, I’m very adjustable to this.”
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