Category Archives: buckeyes

Florida Gators: Top College Basketball TEAM of All Time?

“I’m not saying they were the most talented,” Donovan said of his bunch shortly after the 84-75 win against Ohio State on Monday night at the Georgia Dome. “I’m not saying they were flawless. But when you talk about the word ‘team,’ what that encompasses in terms of unselfishness, sacrifice, playing together, they have got to go down and be considered, in my opinion, one of the best teams to ever play.”

OK, it took me a couple days to compose myself and let it all sink in. I’m now ready to talk about what my family and I witnessed in the Georgia Dome Monday night. Put simply, we saw possibly the best TEAM college basketball has ever produced.

The Florida Gators survived the gauntlet as defending national champs, taking everyone’s best shot all season, and emerged as the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions. I don’t just mean the university repeated as champs, I mean the same 5+1 guys that won it all last year, stayed in school, and made it look easy dismissing Ohio State for the Championship Monday night. Although they always played as a TEAM, their names deserve mention:

  • Taurean Green
  • Lee Humphrey
  • Corey Brewer
  • Joakim Noah
  • Al Horford; and
  • sixth-man-of-the-year Chris Richard

On the heels of dismantling UCLA for the 2006 Championship, at least four of those six could have been drafted by the NBA, with Noah and Horford potential lottery picks. Brewer grew up in a modest tobacco farmer’s home and his ailing dad could have been safer with a son in the NBA. Despite the millions of dollars within reach, the TEAM decided “if one stays, we all stay” — and they all stayed in school.

In an age when too many kids see college as a sports franchise instead of a school, these Gators signed up for another year of homework, tests and grades — in between more Brutal Billy practices and ongoing risk of injury. Why? Because Coach Billy Donovan and their families taught them what being a TEAM means. They lived together and played together, always looking out for each other and getting the ball to their best player: whoever was open for the best shot.

Opponents attacked the Gators differently each game and the Gators responded — sometimes with inside banging, sometimes by raining 3-pointers, sometimes on the backs of subs stepping up and sometimes, particularly this weekend, helping the Final Four Most Outstanding Player (Brewer) work some magic of his own. Brewer’s post-game quote about the MOP award sums up his focus: It means a lot. But, you know, it’s all about my teammates. I’d give it to each and every one of my teammates if I could break it apart because if it wasn’t for those guys, what’s MOP mean?”

Playing as a true TEAM means that no one was a stats superstar — even though the Gators led the country in shooting percentage. Will that hurt them in the NBA draft? Possibly, but the commitment and teamwork they embraced will pay off for life. These lessons apply to family, friendships, business and sports.

I’ll end my post of praise with a huge thanks to basketball coach Billy Donovan, football coach Urban Meyer and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley (the real mastermind behind the Gators 2006-2007 basketball- football- basketball domination). The amazing accomplishments of the Gator Basketball and Football programs start with recruiting the right kind of role models to the coaching staff and teams. Congratulations to the coaching TEAM that made this all possible, from the biggest TEAM of all: The Gator Nation. GO GATORS!!

Other coverage of the Gators repeat includes:

Gators, Buckeyes, Oh My…

Although I’ve kept my Gator support pretty low-key here at FVB, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give my Old Boys of Florida a vote of support and good luck tonight against OSU. I expect UF’s toughest game of the season and hope Meyer’s toughness training in the preseason pays off…

It wouldn’t be a big game if there wasn’t plenty of YouTube trash talk involved, so here’s one of my favorite Gator/Buckeye videos based on the Mac-guy theme (search and you’ll find plenty more).

In the spirit of the Gator Nation ads: Go start a technology company that changes the world and allows you to reach your dreams. Go Gators!


UPDATE: My beloved Gators are the 2006 College Football National Champions, dismantling the Buckeyes 41-14 last night. Combine that with UF’s 2006 Basketball National Championship and you have a feat that has never been accomplished in the history of college sports. Congratulations to the whole team, especially Chris Leak for a fantastic career, and thank you Jeremy (not Foley) for stopping by last night to comment on this post — something about OSU bleeding, how prophetic 😉 GO GATORS!!

Super Duper Blog Tag: Five Things About Me

Owen over at Ugh!!’s Greymatter Honeypot just tagged me on the “Blog Tag: 5 Things About Me” meme. Here are 5 things you may may not already know about me:
1) I’m an avid University of Florida sports fan (and alum), loving the year of the Gator so far. I’m looking for Fiesta Bowl tickets or UF season ticket holders who aren’t making the trip to see the Gators and Buckeyes battle for #1. Any ideas, please email me…
2) PayPerPost wasn’t my most controversial, disruptive investment. That was backing Napster when Shawn & Sean needed some cash to scale beyond a single server. In fact, we were the only fund to make money on Napster — strange but true, for such a world-changing company. Unfortunately, Napster never made the transition PPP made today to maximize value for all constituents.
3) We’re the house in the neighborhood on Halloween and Christmas that annoys the neighbors. Actually, our Christmas decorations are pretty tasteful, but Halloween is downright scary as my daughters get into the act looking very Ring- and Grudge-like.
4) My only two groomsmen when I married my college sweetheart at the Herlong Mansion in 1991 were my dad and brother. I’d choose the same today.
5) I met my “college sweetheart” back in the seventh grade (Oak Grove). Despite my overtures, throughout high-school we were “just friends”, but choosing the same dorm as her for our first UF semester was the smartest investment I’ve ever made 😉

Who started Blog-Tag? Jeff Pulver gets credit this time around, but he also mentioned some bloggers before him (with no link?). It’s a nice way to learn some tidbits behind the keyboard of your favorite bloggers — just enough to keep everyone from flaming Blog-Tag as a big chainblog nuisance (although that’s coming, I’m sure).

I’ll keep the chain going with tags to Jason Baptiste, Steve Spalding, Rich Swier, Peter Pezaris, and Eric Marcoullier.