Alpharetta’s Malik Beasley shines for FSU

Malik Beasley wasn’t going to try to play it cool. It’s not easy to feign nonchalance over scoring in double figures in the first 24 games of a college career.

“It’s pretty amazing to watch what I’ve done, see what I’ve done,” said the Florida State freshman guard, a graduate of St. Francis School in Alpharetta. “It’s just a blessing.”

Beasley’s streak ended Sunday night with a six-point game in a loss to Miami. Beasley, one of the crowd of Georgia prep greats excelling collegiately beyond the state’s borders, can start another streak against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in Tallahassee, Fla.

Beasley is in position to receive a slew of accolades, including All-ACC and freshman All-America. The website nbadraft.net slots him as the No. 21 pick in the upcoming draft. The end of Beasley’s streak removed what might have been an intriguing element to Wednesday’s game. Had he reached double figures against Miami, he could have tied the ACC record for most consecutive double-figure scoring games to start a career at 26, a mark held by Tech great Stephon Marbury.

“It was pretty cool to know that I (had the streak),” Beasley said by phone Monday. “Of course, it hurts (for it to end), but it doesn’t even matter, really. I didn’t even realize I had the streak until it was 17 or 18.”

The play of Beasley, along with fellow freshman Dwayne Bacon, has kept the Seminoles on the NCAA tournament bubble. With Beasley at 16.7 points per game and Bacon at 15.7, they are on track to be the highest-scoring freshman duo in ACC history, ahead of Tech’s Mark Price and John Salley (31.8).

Beasley is no mere gunner. Going into the week, Beasley ranked ninth in the ACC in shooting percentage (49 percent) and 24th in rebounding (5.3 per game). He has five games with three assists.

In high school, Beasley said that Tech recruited him “pretty hard” but got into the game a little late. He made an observation often heard about Tech, that he didn’t realize how green the Midtown campus was until visiting. The combination of proximity and ACC basketball, he said, might have been persuasive had Tech shown more interest earlier.

Instead, he continues the pipeline that FSU coach Leonard Hamilton has established out of metro Atlanta, a line that includes first-round picks Toney Douglas (Jonesboro) and Chris Singleton (Dunwoody). Hamilton didn’t know what to expect from Beasley this season, but he said he wasn’t surprised.

“He works very hard, he’s a gym rat,” Hamilton said Monday on the ACC teleconference. “He gives tremendous effort, he’s coachable. He’s a great teammate. He cheers for his teammates and he’s very, very talented. Most of those times, when those guys have that combination of things going on in their life, they’re fairly consistent.”

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