George Mason coach Kim English's story on nearly facing Bradley Beal in NCAA Tournament

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Mike DePrisco
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New GMU coach has an amazing story about Beal in 2012 NCAA tourney originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

As Kim English begins his tenure as George Mason's newest head basketball coach, it's worth noting his relationship with the absolute best player in the area: Wizards star shooting guard, Bradley Beal. 

English played his college ball at Missouri before a 41-game stint in the NBA with the Pistons. From 2007-12, English helped the Mizzou basketball program become a legitimate contender in the SEC by the time he was a senior.

In the three years leading up to his senior season at Missouri, English got to know Beal, who was a rising high school star in the St. Louis area. Fast forward to the 2012 NCAA tournament, with Beal a freshman at Florida, the two players found themselves on the same side of the bracket with a chance to face off on the biggest stage. 

Unfortunately for English, his Tigers team fell victim to a classic March upset. 

"My senior year, we were a No. 2 seed, but we actually lost to a 15-seed in Norfolk State," English said on Wizards Pregame Live. "[Florida] won, beat Norfolk State by like 30 in the second round, so I say they dodged a bullet."

As English said, Florida won their first-round game easily, destroyed Norfolk State 84-50 and eventually went on to the Elite Eight before falling to Lousiville. Florida's path got easier when Missouri was bounced early, and Beal knew it. 

"I actually walked off the court and I kinda looked at Brad, and he kinda gave me a little smirk," English said. 

Since they nearly came face to face on the court nine years ago, English started building his coaching career. After English's playing career ended in 2015, he entered the coaching ranks as an assistant at Tulsa and steadily worked his way up to his first head coaching opportunity with George Mason. 

Beal, on the other hand, has become one of the best scorers in the NBA, averaging over 30 points two years in a row and playing in his fair share of big playoff games along the way. 

"Really, really happy for [Beal] and all the success he's had," English said. "A beautiful family and sons, and he's just a great ambassador for the league and the city of St. Louis."

Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 6 p.m. Wednesday to watch English's full interview on Wizards Pregame Live