It’s hard to wrap your head around how many terrific players have stepped on the hardwood at the O’Connell Center.
Nearly every student who ever attended the University of Florida can say they witnessed greatness, whether it was a team, player or coach. I watched players like Patric Young, Scottie Wilbekin, Michael Frazier II and Dorian Finney-Smith as Billy Donovan tremendous college career came to an end.
For many, though, stepping into the O-Dome brings back fond memories of the back-to-back national championship teams of the mid-2000s. In fact, when creating this team of all-time Florida Gator greats, I seriously thought about just copy and pasting one of those lineups. You can’t go wrong with Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green.
But if you think back, there are actually a few players more deserving. And just to explain my thought process: I chose my all-time team based on player talent, not necessarily records or stats, though there is a good deal of that.
Without further ado, Florida’s all-time starting five.
Florida Basketball’s All-Time Starting 5
Guard: Jason Williams (1997-98)
White chocolate is actually super nasty. Like, spit it out right into the garbage of the Walmart where you bought it. This “White Chocolate” was nasty too, just in a good way.
Jason Williams played just 20 games for the Gators in his lone season, 1997-98. He averaged 17.1 points per game and still holds the program’s single-game record for assists (17 against Duquesne in 1997).
The nifty point guard went on to have a pretty nice career in the NBA, but his legacy lives on in Youtube highlights.
Guard: Bradley Beal (2011-12)
As far as talent goes, there’s no better choice than Bradley Beal. He spent one season with the Gators, posted terrific numbers and helped Florida to the Elite Eight.
He’s been legitimately one of the best players in the NBA with the Washington Wizards since being drafted third overall in 2012. The three-time All-Star put up 31.3 points per game last season, earning All-NBA honors.
Forward: Mike Miller (1998-2000)
I need a knockdown shooter on my all-Florida team, and I’m going to Mike Miller.
He then went on to make 1,590 three-pointers during a lengthy NBA career in which he won two NBA championships with the LeBron/D-Wade Miami Heat.
Forward: Al Horford (2004-07)
Al Horford was the glue of those back-to-back title teams.
In his junior season before heading to the NBA, he averaged 13.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He’s undoubtedly one of the greatest players in Florida history, as are the teams he played a major role on. He’s had a pretty decent NBA career, too.
Center: Neal Walk (1966-69)
Gosh. This one tore me up. Joakim Noah was and still is a legend. But I can’t deny Neal Walk, even if he played more than 50 years ago.
He then went second overall to the Phoenix Suns in the 1969 NBA Draft after a coin flip (seriously!) decided the Milwaukee Bucks taking Lew Alcindor AKA Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Off the Bench
- Joakim Noah (2004-07)
- Udonis Haslem (1998-02)
- Corey Brewer (2004-07)
- Vernon Maxwell (1984-88)
- David Lee (2001-05)
- Chandler Parsons (2007-11)
- Matt Bonner (1999-03)
- Kenny Boynton (2009-13)