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Beasley hoping for Bulls proposal
Top prospect brushes aside character talk
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/18/2008 12:07 AM | Updated: 6/19/2008 8:14 AM

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A tattoo on Michael Beasley's left shoulder reads, "Married to the game," with a picture of a basketball sitting behind a diamond ring.

Beasley, the 6-foot-8 power forward from Kansas State, is hoping for a proposal from the Bulls on draft night, which is just more than a week away on June 26.

"It would mean a lot, being the No. 1 pick, first of all," Beasley told a horde of reporters outside the Berto Center on Tuesday morning. "But then coming to a franchise with so much history and such a big legacy would mean even more."

In a scenario that reflects a long-running reality show, however, the Bulls may give their rose to someone else. Beasley's competition is Chicago native Derrick Rose, who is scheduled to begin his 48-hour visit with the team today.

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"We're cool, you know," Beasley said of his relationship with Rose, the point guard from Memphis. "We don't really compete. We're just along for the ride."

But each of the two top draft prospects has a job to do, and that's to impress the Bulls, who beat steep odds in the draft lottery to win the No. 1 pick.

Beasley went through a basketball workout Tuesday with no other players on the floor. The Bulls already were well aware that the 6-foot-8 Maryland native is a prolific scorer and rebounder.

Some concerns have been raised, though, about Beasley's past behavior. Reports that he's a troublemaker with character issues have been overblown.

But after attending five different high schools and admitting to being a prankster, some NBA teams are wondering if Beasley could be a bit of a knucklehead. The Bulls should have a good read on the 19-year-old's maturity level after a thorough group interview.

"They asked if I was crazy," Beasley joked, showing a sense of humor about his reputation. "We just sat down and talked; it wasn't really a Q&A.

"If I have character issues … sorry, I guess. I've never been asked what my character issues are. If you asked me, I wouldn't know. I like to smile. I like to see people smile. There aren't enough smiles around here."

Beasley may have attended multiple high schools, but that also means he has spent plenty of time on his own, forced to adjust to unfamiliar environments.

He first left home in eighth grade to attend Laurinburg Academy in North Carolina. Later stops included three more boarding schools, then he went a long way from home to play one season at Kansas State.

"It helped me," Beasley said. "It got me prepared for different situations and different lifestyles. I think me going away to school at such a young age helped me grow up earlier than some other guys my age. So far I think it worked out pretty well."

It's not easy for anyone to open up in the kind of environment Beasley faced outside the Berto Center on Tuesday. He was met by dozens or reporters and cameras, squeezed between a tree and a flower bed, with everyone squinting from the sun.

But Beasley managed a few interesting comments, such as when he was asked to describe himself as a basketball player.

"Hungry. An animal," he answered. "A rebounder, scorer, pretty much whatever the team needs. I never want to step on the court and be second best. That's not fun to me. I like to make everything competitive.

"I want to be the best, and I understand there's a lot of greats out there, a lot of greats that have come through this league that I have to prove it to. But it's just another challenge."

Beasley had another funny line when someone pointed out he was listed at 6-feet-10 in college, then measured 6-8¼ at the NBA predraft camp.

"It's a little disappointing to me to find out I'm actually a midget," he quipped. "But it's not a big deal to me."

Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds last winter at Kansas State. The Bulls could use a big-time scorer and post presence as much as they could a dynamic point guard. But they can only choose one, and Rose's turn to meet the Bulls begins today.