WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — As Bradley Beal continues his campaign to make the USA Basketball team — in advance of FIBA’s inaugural World Cup in August — the Wizards guard says he hasn’t yet begun recruiting any of the NBA’s most elite players to consider D.C. as they become free agents in the coming years, but says he certainly plans to.
“Hey Bradley, it wasn’t that long ago that college coaches, including Billy Donovan, were giving you phone calls and coming to visit, and sweet-talking in your ear saying nice things; did you pick up anything?” Rouhier asked. “Is it Bradley Beal the recruiter out there with some of these great players, talking about Washington, D.C. as a destination?”
“Nah, I haven’t started good yet, but I probably will pretty soon,” Beal said. “I mean, there’s a lot of great guys here in this camp and a lot of guys who will be free agents in the next couple years, so I’ll probably definitely get on top of that pretty soon, and see what these guys want to do moving forward, see if I can get ’em to come to D.C. for us.”
“Hey, take out a notebook and jot down a name for me,” Paulsen said. “It rhymes with Shmevin Smurant, okay?”
“Oh, I have no idea what name rhymes with that,” Beal deflected.
Beal would also give his thoughts on LeBron James going back to Cleveland, and discuss his USA Basketball experience in greater depth throughout the course of the interview. Here are a few notable bullet points.
On LeBron James heading back to Cleveland
“I kind of had a feeling he was gonna do that,” said Beal. “You kind of have to respect that fact that he wanted to go back home, raise his kids there and I guess just end his career back in Cleveland. But at the same time, I can’t really root for him too many times, because we play them about two to four times this year.”
On Marcin Gortat Re-signing
“I love Marcin, man,” Beal said. “Marcin was definitely a huge part to our team, just in terms of him on both ends of the floor. He plays hard each and every time he’s out there, he rebounds the ball, he scores the ball and he sets screens. He does everything that he’s supposed to do, and he had a great year for us last year, and we’ll expect him to continue to be the same guy he was last year, and just continue to get better and better and better, because he’s more than capable of doing that.”
On Losing Trevor Ariza, Gaining Paul Pierce
“I’m excited as I don’t know what,” Beal said. “It’s definitely unfortunate we lost Trevor, but we have a great player like Paul Pierce who’s able to come in and help us out a lot, be a great vet to us and be able to score the ball for us. And we have a bunch of bigs, who I love, and I think the best thing; it benefits me, because they’re not afraid to hit anybody, so I can run off screens and they just knock my guy out so I can get open for a shot.”
Beal says he hasn’t yet spoken with Pierce.
Chances of Making U.S. National Team
“I think I have a pretty good chance. I think everybody has a great chance,” Beal said. “It’s 19 of us, and I think they’re gonna keep about 12 to 15, so that’s a makeable amount, and I think in my position it’s very possible as long as I put my mind to it. But like I said before, man, when I first heard the news of me being a part of this, I was in awe. I was in shock, because it’s definitely one of the greatest moments of my life, one of the greatest achievements for me for me to be even able to try to represent my country once again. Like, I did it when I was 16 and 17, and now, to be a part of the national team and be on that bigger stage is probably like a dream come true and a once-in-a-lifetime type thing.”
Advice from Coach Krzyzewski on Making the Team
“They just want you to play like yourself,” said Beal. “And I think Coach K, you know how some people say ‘leave your ego at the door,’ but he always says ‘don’t leave your ego at the door.’ And ‘just come out and show who you are, play the way you know you play on your team,’ and they’re gonna evaluate us from there. They don’t want us to try to do anything we’re not supposed to be doing, or anything we’re not capable of doing. We’re just supposed to go out there and play the right way, play the right way we’re supposed to play, and just show Coach K what we’re capable of doing.”
Beal last represented the United States in the FIBA Under-17 World Championship in 2010, winning tournament MVP as the U.S. defeated Poland for the title.
Beal was recently joined in training camp in Las Vegas by Wizards teammate John Wall, who last week received a late invitation to also compete for a roster spot.