Mature Beal still a teenager, for now

Mature Beal still a teenager, for now
April 18, 2013, 11:00 pm
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It's almost like Bradley Beal wants to rub it in our adult faces just how young he is.

The fact that the Wizards guard just completed his rookie season as a 19-year-old year is part of what makes his story worth telling, his future so compelling. The day after completing his first season in the NBA, Beal met with reporters for his media exit interview. While some of the questions took him down an adolescent path, many of Beal's responses on Thursday were pure teenager regardless.

*On whether he feels older with one NBA season on his resume: "I still feel young, still feel like a kid. When I turn 20 then I'll feel older."

*On June 26, the St. Louis native turns 20. So, what we will a two-decade old Bradley Beal look like next season? "I don't know. Hopefully more facial hair."

*Since different websites list different heights, perhaps Beal could provide a definitive answer on just how tall he is. "That's a good question, that's a great question actually. I don't even know how tall I am. I'm hoping 6'4" - I am 6'4", 6'5" on a good day."

His last answer is both humorous and a reminder that the Wizards have a player on their roster that is of an age where he is still growing. If doctors are accurate, Beal expects to tack on another 2-3 inches. If the basketball observers know of what they speak, the perimeter threat's game should rise significantly more.

What throws folks for a loop with the age angle is that little of Beal's game or professional demeanor is immature.

"You would never think this guy is 19," Garrett Temple said. "I tell family members and friends that he's 19, and they're like 'what?'. He's such a poised young man. He's really developed.

With his textbook jump shot and on-court craftiness beyond his years, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and shot 38.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

His numbers truly jumped once the calendar flipped to 2013. During March, a month many people his age play in the sun on Spring Break, Beal torched the nets from 3-point range, shooting 53.6 percent.

"I felt like he was playing like the Rookie of the Year for the time I was here when he was healthy," said Temple, who joined the Wizards on Christmas Day.

Because of an ankle and subsequent right leg injury, Beal missed 13 of the Wizards' final 14 games. Because John Wall and Nene also missed time with their own ailments, the trio only played 22 games together this season. In those games, the Wizards finished 15-7 leading to plenty of "what if" thoughts.

"We know what we are capable of doing," said Beal, who overall missed 26 of Washington's 82 games. "Not even when it's just us three, but when we even have a few healthy guys we can be pretty good. Unfortunately, we all couldn't be out there for more than 20-plus games. We can't use that as an excuse. Hopefully, all three of us can be healthy next year from the start and get out early." 

Beal said the stress injury to his right fibula feels fine now, though he's not testing the leg now.

"I'm really just staying off it, walking around, no running, not jumping," Beal said. "I still have a few more weeks before I can do any of that."

That leaves plenty of time to get ready for Summer League. Beal spent his first summer with the franchise playing ball in Las Vegas. Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he would like his starting guard out there again this year

Should he indeed west, the young man will be a more familiar presence to those basketball-loving fans on hand.

Asked about changes off the court over the last year, Beal said. "People recognize me, but I'm still like a normal person on the street, in my opinion. I don't think I'm better than you, which is why I still do some of things I'd do if I was still back home, if I was at school still.

"I'm still going to be the same guy no matter what my bank account looks like. I definitely have a lot more access to things, material things. I'm a 19-year-old and I make a lot of money. Not a lot of kids or people have that opportunity, that blessing I have and I'm very grateful for it."

So what else does a 19-year-old that makes a lot of money plan on doing during the offseason?

"I don't know yet. It depends on what my mom wants to do. She wants to get a house. Lord knows how that is going to go."

Come on, there must be something...what about adding to your array of tattoos?

"Maybe, but my mom probably won't let me," Beal said. "I still have to listen to her. I can't just go against her."

Even with his high profile job, Beal indeed sounds just like a teenager.