The Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal walked into the TD Garden arena together Friday night, hours before they were set to oppose each other in a Celtics victory.
It was a reminder of the tight bond between the two proud St. Louis natives, whose upbringings in basketball ran startlingly parallel despite their five-year age difference:
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) March 2, 2019
Beal and Tatum both played their AAU basketball for the legendary St. Louis Eagles club, which has since been named Bradley Beal Elite. The two also attended St. Louis' Chaminade College Prep, where as seniors in 2011 and 2016 they both earned McDonald's All-American, USA TODAY First Team All-USA , and Gatorade Nationial Player of the Year honors.
Even further, Beal and Tatum also went third overall in their respective NBA drafts of 2012 and 2017.
After the game, Beal leaped heavy praise on his young protege, telling reporters that in spite of his impressive success so far Tatum has still only begun to scratch the surface.
From one St. Louisan to another, Bradley Beal had plenty of high praise for his friend Jayson Tatum pic.twitter.com/VfuGZHi1C5
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) March 2, 2019
"He's good, man. I don't like talking about him, because I'm biased and I don't want you guys to think. . . but he's very talented," Beal said of Tatum. "He's a special player, and he's got so much more room to grow, and I think that's the scary part of his game. Everybody sees how effective he's been in a year and a half, and he has 15 more years to play. He's got a long way to go, I'm happy for him, but he's a key piece to the [Celtics]."
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