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Friday June 29, 2012 GatorLinks: Beal's Big Night, Lochte Talks to Costas, Zunino Update, Fontana's BP, plus more

Updated: 11:11am, June 29

Brad Beal

Photo: No. 3 pick Brad Beal shoots over No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the O'Dome in March.

In a span of a year Brad Beal went from being Florida's most highly touted freshman recruit to the third overall pick in the NBA Draft.

That's a pretty good year if you ask me. Oh, and the draft dropped on his 19th birthday Thursday night. Yep, we should all be so lucky to have such a memorable birthday.

Congrats to Beal, who was fun to watch in his only season with the Gators. But as good of a player as he is, I'm more impressed at how well Beal carries himself.

He just doesn't seem like a kid who turned 19 Thursday. Mature beyond his years. He doesn't play like one either, hence his selection by the Wizards.

To help you get caught up on Beal and other Gator-related news, here are some fresh links from around the Internet:

--Beal tells the Washington Post he landed in a great spot but that he plans to change numbers. The last guy to wear 23 for the Wizards was MJ.

--Post columnist Mark Wise writes about Beal's potential and Washington's potential with a starting backcourt of Beal and former Kentucky star John Wall.

--Washington team president Ernie Grunfield and coach Randy Wittman relieved to get Beal writes the Post.

--Tough to make front page of Washington Post today in wake of health-care news on Thursday, but Beal snuck on there.

--Gators catcher Mike Zunino won Johnny Bench Award on Thursday and is expected to sign with Mariners soon writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

--VIDEO: Former Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte joins NBC's Bob Costas for an interview.

--Former Gators hurdler Kerron Clement runs best time in 400-meter hurdles at U.S. Olympic Trials writes

--Less than a week after his Gators career ended shortstop Nolan Fontana took BP with the Astros and learned he is heading to Class A writes the Houston Chronicle.

--Some news out of Athens (not good) this morning that might affect the SEC East race writes Ed Aschoff of

--Gators swimmer Teresa Crippen boosts Olympic bid writes the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

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