Former Gator Bradley Beal will officially represent the United States in Tokyo this summer at the Olympics.
Beal makes UF history with the selection, as he becomes the first Gator to represent the red, white and blue on the Olympic basketball stage. He is just the second UF basketball alumnus to take part in the games, following in the footsteps of Harry Winkler. Winkler competed in handball at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic games.
Despite only stopping in Gainesville for a year, Beal made his mark on the Florida program. He was first-team All-SEC in the 2011-2012 season and became the first Gator named to both the All-SEC and All-SEC freshman teams. Beal averaged 14.8 points per game and helped Florida to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Beal had his best statistical year in 2021 with the Washington Wizards. The guard averaged 31.3 points per game on 48.5% shooting, along with 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest.
The three-time All-Star earned third-team All-NBA honors for his performance this year, his first appearance on an All-NBA team, and led Washington to its first playoff berth in three years.
The All-Star joins a star-studded cast committed to the US this summer, including Damien Lilliard, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, as the national team attempts to win its fourth straight gold medal and fifth in the past six Olympics.
Beal will have about a month to prepare to take on the greatest players around the world, as the US gets its Olympic campaign underway July 25 against NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and France.
Michael Hull is a third-year journalism major with a specialization in sports & media. He has a minor in business and leadership and is a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars fan.