Gators make history in draft
New York, NY (Sports Network) – When Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah
were selected in the first round of the NBA draft Thursday, the Florida Gators
made history by having three players taken in the top nine.
Never before had one school had a trio of players taken in the top 10 of a
draft. UNLV had three in the top 12 in 1991, but winning two straight national
championships can do wonders and it did for the Gator three.
Horford was taken third by Atlanta, Brewer at No. 7 by Minnesota and Noah
ninth by the Chicago Bulls.
“It’s going to be different,” said Horford, who was the highest selection by a
Gator since Neal Walk was taken No. 2 overall by the Phoenix Suns in 1969.
“Obviously at this time in Florida, we’re out on summer break and we’re
starting to come back to go to Summer School. Obviously it’s a little
different now. We’re going to separate teams. It’s a new beginning for us, and
we’re excited about it. We had a great time at Florida, but I think it’s time
to move on to bigger things.”
That means not only making millions, but hopefully winning NBA championships.
For Noah, he’s hoping a winning tradition the Bulls had in the 1990’s and a
resurgence to the Eastern Conference semifinals this past season will start
another championship run.
“They are a team that isn’t satisfied unless they win the championship,
because I think that the city expects the championship because they won six in
a ten year span,” Noah said. “I mean, it’s just growing up I was actually a
Knicks fan and the Bulls used to make me cry as a kid. And how ironic is it,
now I’m wearing a Bulls hat, and I’ve never been so happy in my life.”
Horford, Brewer and Noah were just the start of a big night for the Gators in
New York. Forward Chris Richard was chosen in the second round at No. 41 by
the Timberwolves. Guard Taurean Green was then taken 52nd by Portland.
The five total players chosen tied the record the University of Connecticut
had a year ago for the most ever by one school in a single draft.
“These players were fortunate enough to be a part of two national
championships, and now have the opportunity to continue their careers at the
next level,” Gators head coach Billy Donovan said. “I’m so happy for, and
proud of, this group, as they continue to make history. Their selections
tonight are a true testament of how hard they’ve worked. It’s a great day for
basketball at the University of Florida and for basketball in the state of
Horford and Green both joined their fathers as draft picks. Tito Horford was a
second-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988. Sidney Green was a first-
round pick by the Bulls in 1983.