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Originally published Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:43 AM

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Florida freshman Beal declares for NBA draft

Florida guard Bradley Beal is turning pro, leaving the Gators after one season.

The Associated Press

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. —

Florida guard Bradley Beal is turning pro, leaving the Gators after one season.

Beal announced his intentions Friday, declaring for the NBA draft after telling coach Billy Donovan.

The 6-foot-4 Beal is expected to be a lottery pick in the June 28 draft, predicted to go in the top five. Donovan calls the 18-year-old Beal "as mature a kid at this age as I've ever been around."

Beal says his dream is "sitting right here in front of me" and that he's "ready to realize this dream."

Beal averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a freshman and made the first-team All-Southeastern Conference team.

He is the second player to leave Florida for the NBA after one season during Donovan's 16 years, joining Donnell Harvey (2000).

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