“What’s a basketball player like you doing at a football school like this ?”
For several ex-University Florida hoopsters, the answer can be found in the most recent NBA box scores
Florida, traditionally labeled as a football school, is producing some of the most exciting and productive talent in the NBA.
In just the past six days, a group of former Florida Gators have displayed their own version of March Madness-NBA style. Here are just a few amazing highlights from the past week.
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls (C): Noah concluded the month of February with a spectacular triple-double against Philadelphia, which included 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. He then opened March by posting two more double-doubles in back-to-back games against Brooklyn and Indiana.
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks (C): Horford has averaged just over 20 points in the Hawks’ first three games in March, including a double-double against Denver where he scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets (F): The most amazing performance of the past week belongs to Parsons, who scored a career high 32 points on 12-13 shooting (6-of-7 from the three-point line) against Dallas on March 3. Parsons became the first player since Larry Bird to score 30-plus points, while shooting 92 percent or better and attempting at least five three-pointers according to ESPN.
Marreese Speights, Cleveland Cavaliers (F-C): The most surprising performance of the week was former Gator Speights’ 23-point performance against the New York Knicks on March 4. At one point in the game, Speights was a perfect 10-for-10.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (G): Rookie Beal scored a career high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Knicks on March 1 at Madison Square Garden.
David Lee, Golden State Wartriors (F-C): Lee, the veteran of this group of ex-Gators, notched a double-double in each of his three games this week, including a 29-point, 11-rebound performance against Toronto on March 4.
Corey Brewer, Denver Nuggets (F): Brewer, coming off the bench, led Denver in scoring with 22 points, as the Nuggets won their 10th in a row by beating the Atlanta Hawks 104-88 on March 4.
Not a bad week for a group that played its college basketball at a football school. Other Gator alum currently playing in the NBA include Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs (F-C), and the Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem (F) and Mike Miller (G).
The performance of these former Gators is further evidence that Florida coach Billy Donovan continues to run one of the strongest basketball programs in the country, despite of the fact that basketball has always taken a back seat to football in Gainesville.
With weeks like this, it's hard not to take note of the basketball talent that’s been playing across the street from The Swamp. It may be the Gators' most impressive group of athletes.