Florida Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History

Thad Novak@@ThadNovakCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2012

Florida Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History

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    Billy Donovan’s phenomenal success at Florida can make it easy to forget that the Gators are a relative newcomer to the national scene, having made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987. Nonetheless, Gainesville has enjoyed a long history of outstanding individual talent, both before and after becoming a contender on a team level.

    The latest of those stars are still plying their trade on Florida's campus. The superlative backcourt duo of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker have each made impressive marks in the Gator record books, even with some crucial games remaining in their respective collegiate careers.

    Read on for a closer look at Walker, Boynton and the rest of the greatest hoops stars ever to wear a Gator uniform.

50. Donnell Harvey (1999-00)

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    A rare one-and-done for Florida, Donnell Harvey’s exceptional athleticism was evident from the moment he arrived in Gainesville. He averaged 10 points and seven rebounds a game in his lone season as a Gator.

    Harvey’s decision to jump to the NBA was clearly premature, as he played just 18 games as a rookie. A career backup, he played one strong season for Denver (7.9 points and 5.3 rebounds a night) but was mostly unimpressive in five pro seasons.

49. Craig Brown (1990-94)

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    Craig Brown served as half of the sweet-shooting backcourt duo that provided the scoring for Florida’s first Final Four team in 1994.

    In addition to his impressive long-range scoring (186 career treys), Brown was a tenacious defender whose 158 steals place him ninth in Gator history.

    Although he went undrafted and never played in the NBA, Brown has made a career out of basketball anyway. After a long stint as a Central Florida assistant coach, he’s now the radio color commentator for his alma mater.

    Image from magazine.ufl.edu

48. Marreese Speights (2006-08)

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    Although Marreese Speights jumped to the NBA after his first season as a starter in Gainesville, he certainly established his potential as a pro power forward.

    The 6’10” Speights averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds a night as the Gators sophomore tasked with the unenviable job of replacing Al Horford.

    Speights isn’t setting the world on fire in his first year as a starter in Memphis, but he’s been a productive NBA reserve. In his best season to date (with the Sixers), he averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 boards per game.

47. Teddy Dupay (1998-01)

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    A hard-nosed defender at 5’10”, Teddy Dupay’s intensity made him a key contributor to Florida’s 2000 Final Four run. His smooth jump shot didn’t hurt any either, as he finished his career with 188 3-pointers made (ninth-best in program history).

    Dupay’s career ended on a sour note, as he left the program amid a gambling scandal prior to his senior season. He never played in the NBA, though he did come as close as a six-game stint with Mobile in the D-League.

46. Gary Keller (1964-67)

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    A bona fide post presence at 6’9”, 220 lbs, Gary Keller made his biggest statement as a rebounder. Keller’s career total of 855 boards is the ninth best in Florida history.

    Keller became a sixth-round pick of the Lakers, but opted for the ABA instead. He averaged 4.5 rebounds a night off the bench over two seasons (one each with Minnesota and Miami).

    Image from tampabayonline.net

45. Jason Williams (1997-98)

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    Although he played just one season at Florida after transferring from Marshall, Jason Williams left a lasting impression on Gators fans.

    Williams parlayed his streetball-worthy dribbling skills and an underrated outside shot into 17.1 points and 6.7 assists a game as a Gator, then got suspended for drug use before he could play enough games to enter his numbers into the school record books.

    Williams’ NBA career has been similarly mercurial, but at his best he’s been a first-rate point guard.

    He hasn’t appeared in a game in 2011-12, so his career may be over after a dozen years featuring averages as high as 14.8 points and 8.3 assists a night (both with Memphis).

    Image from thedraftreview.com

44. Alex Tyus (2007-11)

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    A physical presence inside at 6’8”, 220 lbs, Alex Tyus balanced a sensational (but small) Gators backcourt with muscle underneath. His 115 career blocks are the eighth-highest total in team history.

    Undrafted last spring, Tyus is currently playing overseas. Despite his defensive instincts, it seems unlikely that he’ll ever find a home in the NBA.

43. Kenny Boynton (2009-Present)

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    Already a dangerous scorer before this season, Kenny Boynton has become even more of an offensive force as a junior. The 6’2” Boynton is shooting a career-high .443 from long range to average 17.5 points a night.

    Boynton is already up to 1,439 points in his career—15th among Gators all-time—and he’s not even done with his junior year.

    He’s also up to sixth in school history with 237 3-pointers made, making him a near-lock to break Lee Humphrey’s career record if he returns for his senior season in Gainesville.

42. Matt Bonner (1999-03)

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    6’10” Matt Bonner certainly looked the part of a power forward, using his size and bulk to grab 778 rebounds in his Florida career.

    At heart, though, he was a 3-point marksman whose jump-shooting touch helped him rack up 1,570 points as a Gator (ninth most in school history).

    Bonner has essentially moved to the perimeter full-time in the pros (at least for offensive purposes), leading the league in 3-point accuracy last season.

    He’s now in his sixth year as a designated long-range shooter off the San Antonio bench, where he’s consistently averaged in the neighborhood of seven points and three boards a night.

41. Chandler Parsons (2007-11)

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    A versatile forward who averaged 3.8 assists a game and shot 36.8 percent from long range as a senior, Chandler Parsons was most effective crashing the boards. The 6’9” Parsons grabbed 852 career rebounds to rank ninth in Florida history.

    Parsons has been thrown into the deep end as a Rockets rookie, starting 21 games and counting in his first season.

    His individual numbers have been lacking—6.8 points per game, though he has snagged 1.3 steals a night—but he hasn’t kept the team from a strong 16-12 start.

40. Justin Hamilton (1999-03)

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    A prototypical college point guard, Justin Hamilton wasn’t much of a threat to score but still did plenty to help the Gators win. In addition to dishing out 309 assists in his career, Hamilton racked up 164 steals—the seventh-highest total in school history.

    Hamilton wasn’t drafted out of school, though he did get a cup of coffee with Roanoke in the D-League. He averaged an impressive 1.2 steals in just 18.6 minutes a night, but lasted just 12 games with the club.

39. Greg Stolt (1995-99)

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    Despite standing 6’8”, Greg Stolt was most valuable as a perimeter player in his college career. The sharp-shooting Stolt knocked down 243 3-pointers, the fifth-highest total in program history.

    Although Stolt went undrafted out of Gainesville, he did get a brief look from the D-League. In one season on Huntsville’s bench, though, he averaged just 3.7 points a game.

38. Gene Shy (1972-76)

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    Although Gene Shy made a mark as a rebounder, averaging as many as 8.4 boards a night at Florida, it’s for his scoring that he’ll be remembered. Shy’s career total of 1,573 points is the eighth highest in Gator history.

    Shy went to the Knicks in the 1976 draft, but not until Round 10. He never played in the NBA.

37. Kenyan Weaks (1996-00)

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    A terrific outside shooter who knocked down 198 3-pointers in his career (seventh best in program history), Kenyan Weaks was just as tough on the other end of the floor.

    The 6’4” Weaks used his length to grab 163 steals, tying a school record with an average of 2.3 per game as a junior.

    Overshadowed by the other backcourt stars on Florida’s 2000 Final Four squad, Weaks went undrafted out of school. He never played in the NBA.

36. David Lee (2001-05)

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    A grinding power forward with more grit than athleticism, David Lee nevertheless became a standout at the college level. His 109 blocks are ninth most in school history, and his 869 boards tie him for sixth on that list.

    Lee’s hard work has paid off in the form of an outstanding NBA career that already includes one All-Star appearance.

    His numbers for Golden State so far this season—18.2 points and 10 rebounds a night—are a fair imitation of the performance that earned him that selection as a Knick two years ago.

35. Greg Williams (1993-97)

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    Despite sharing the spotlight with stars such as Eddie Shannon and Dan Cross, Greg Williams made his own mark as one of the greatest distributors Florida has ever seen. Williams’ career total of 423 assists is the sixth best in Gator history.

    Like so many outstanding college floor leaders, Williams lacked the all-around game to make it at the next level. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

34. Bob Emrick (1953-57)

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    The first in a long line of elite Florida centers, Bob Emrick was a dominant force in the pivot. Emrick tallied a then-school record 1,544 points in his career, and his 869 rebounds are still tied for sixth in program history.

    Despite his outstanding college performance, Emrick went undrafted out of Florida. He never played in the NBA.

    Image from gatorzone.com

33. Vernon Delancy (1980-84)

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    Arriving at Florida in the same recruiting class as Ronnie Williams, Vernon Delancy rewrote the Gator record books as a passer.

    He set up his high-scoring classmate to the tune of 427 career assists, a school record by leaps and bounds at the time that’s still good for fifth on the all-time list.

    Delancy’s college exploits earned him a third-round selection by the Bucks in the 1984 draft. He couldn’t make the roster, though, and never played in the NBA.

    Image from fanbase.com

32. Chip Williams (1972-75)

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    Even in Florida’s center-heavy basketball tradition, Chip Williams stands out for his all-around game.

    Williams’ 16.4 points per game are the eighth best career average in program history, and he’s one of just six Gators to average double-digit rebounds for his career.

    Although he was productive at Florida, Williams didn’t make it into the NBA draft. He never played in the league.

31. Joe Lawrence (1983-87)

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    One of many outstanding shooters who helped propel Florida to its first NCAA tournament in 1987, Joe Lawrence thrived at the newly-introduced 3-point line.

    Lawrence’s .504 3-point shooting percentage that year is still second best in program history for a single season, and it’s a school record for career accuracy.

    Lawrence’s marksmanship wasn’t enough to impress NBA scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

30. Mike Miller (1998-00)

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    Mike Miller snatched Florida’s 2000 Final Four squad from the jaws of defeat, slicing through the lane for a last-second runner to beat Butler in the first round of that tournament.

    The play became the signature moment of a brief Gators career that saw Miller average 13.3 points and six boards a game from his forward position.

    In the pros, Miller’s aversion to contact has moved him to a swingman role, but his superior outside shooting has kept him employed.

    He’s in his second season as a Heat reserve, but it was Memphis that got Miller’s best years, featuring averages as high as 18.5 points and 6.7 rebounds a night.

29. Anthony Roberson (2002-05)

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    For pure scoring punch, Florida has had few players in its history to match Anthony Roberson.

    The 6’2” guard climbed to 12th on the school’s scoring charts (1,505 points) in just three collegiate seasons, and his 267 career treys are the third most in program history.

    Roberson went undrafted, but he did get a couple of looks from the NBA. Although he shot an enviable .356 from long range in very limited minutes, he appeared in just 65 games over three seasons in the league.

28. Taurean Green (2004-07)

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    Thrust into a starting role as a sophomore, Taurean Green ran the offense for two national champions at Florida.

    A fine scorer who averaged 13.3 points a night in both championship seasons, Green also dished out 184 assists (fourth most in school history) in 2005-06.

    Green never matched father Sidney’s success at the pro level. He played just 17 NBA games between Denver and Portland, averaging less than one assist per night.

27. Andy Owens (1967-70)

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    A terrific rebounder who averaged 8.3 boards a night in his Gators career, Andy Owens was even more feared as a scorer.

    Owens’ 27 points per game as a senior are still the school record for a season, and his career average of 19 points a night is the fourth best in Florida history.

    Owens has the dubious distinction of being the only 11th-round draft pick produced by the Gators. That being the case, it should surprise no one that he never played in the NBA.

    Image from gatorzone.com

26. Rick Casares (1950-53)

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    One of Florida’s first big-time basketball standouts, Rick Casares was the most physical post player the Gators have ever enjoyed. Although he stood just 6’2”, Casares averaged 11.4 rebounds per game, the fourth-best figure in school history.

    Casares went on to a decorated professional career, but not in the NBA. Also a star with Florida’s football team, he became a five-time Pro Bowler as a fullback with the Chicago Bears, leading the NFL in rushing in 1956. 

25. Corey Brewer (2004-07)

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    An athletic small forward who scored 13.2 points a game as a junior, Corey Brewer was most dangerous without the ball. The long-limbed Brewer averaged as many as 1.9 steals a night while keying the defense for the Gators’ back-to-back title teams.

    Brewer has bounced in and out of the starting lineup in four-plus pro seasons. He’s been a valuable reserve for defensive-minded George Karl in Denver this year.

24. Stacey Poole (1989-93)

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    A respectable rebounder from his forward spot, Stacey Poole was quite a bit more than respectable as a scorer. Poole’s 1,678 career points are the fourth-highest total in Gator history.

    Poole was dogged by injuries throughout his college career (including a pair of torn Achilles tendons), a situation that couldn’t have gone unnoticed by pro scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

23. Dan Cross (1991-95)

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    The point guard and leading scorer for Florida’s first Final Four team in 1994, Dan Cross was a three-point gunner who was even more effective on the defensive end.

    Cross’ 198 career steals are tied for the second-highest total in school history.

    Although he appeared to have all the tools to be an NBA point guard, Cross wasn’t drafted out of Florida. He never played in the league.

22. Lee Humphrey (2003-07)

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    The designated three-point sniper on Florida’s back-to-back national champs, Lee Humphrey could stretch the floor with the best. He shot a dazzling .459 from long range in both title seasons on his way to a school-record 288 treys for his career.

    Humphrey was too one-dimensional to get much interest from pro scouts. He went undrafted and hasn’t played in the NBA.

21. Brett Nelson (1999-03)

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    As a freshman, Brett Nelson ran the offense for the 2000 national runners-up. He only got better from there, finishing with the eighth most assists (406) and second most steals (198, a tie with Dan Cross) in program history.

    Nelson went undrafted and never played in the NBA, but quickly found a niche in college coaching. He’s currently an assistant at Drake.

20. Vernon Maxwell (1984-88)

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    The scoring star of the Gators’ first two NCAA tournament teams, Vernon Maxwell was a first-rate long range shooter, but he could put up points from anywhere on the floor.

    Although the school has officially expunged his last two seasons from the record books—he admitted to taking cash payments from coaches, among other transgressions—Maxwell was just the second player ever to score 20 points a game in two different seasons for Florida, and his actual career total of 2,450 points would be a school record.

    Mad Max went on to a distinguished NBA career, most notably with the Rockets. Primarily a 3-point sniper, he averaged as many as 17.2 points a game for Houston and shot .320 from long range over 13 pro seasons.

    Image from thedraftreview.com

19. Jim Zinn (1955-58)

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    A prototype power forward for his era, Jim Zinn was on the floor purely to haul in rebounds. He controlled the glass to the tune of 12.7 boards a night—the third-best average in school history—and shares the Gator record with 31 rebounds in a single game.

    Effective though Zinn was at the college level, he went undrafted by the NBA. He never played in the league.

18. Andrew DeClercq (1991-95)

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    Although Andrew DeClercq was a respectable scorer, his biggest contribution to the Gators’ 1994 Final Four run came on the glass. The 6’10” center pulled in 958 rebounds a game, the third-best mark in program history.

    DeClercq spent 10 seasons as an NBA journeyman, too tall to give up on but too slow to be more than a backup. For his career, he posted 4.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

17. Tony Miller (1970-73)

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    One of the few Gators to win an SEC scoring title, Tony Miller’s 26.7 points per game as a junior were also the second-best mark in program history. For his career, Miller poured in 19.5 points a night, the third-best average all-time at Florida.

    As dangerous as Miller was shooting the ball, he didn’t have enough else to offer NBA scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

16. Nick Calathes (2007-09)

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    An outstanding scorer whose 16.3 points a game is the ninth best career average in program history, Nick Calathes was even more valuable for his passing.

    The best point forward in Gator history, Calathes shattered the school records for assists in a season (6.4 a night) and career (6.3 a game, placing him fourth with 452 total assists in just two seasons).

    Prior to the 2009 draft, Calathes announced that he was heading to Greece to continue his career. The Timberwolves spent a second-round pick on him anyway, but he’s never appeared in the NBA.

15. Cliff Luyk (1958-62)

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    An imposing scorer in the post, Cliff Luyk averaged 21.3 points a game as a senior (the sixth-best season in Gator history). He was even more dangerous on the boards, posting the second-best career average in school history with 14.1 rebounds a night.

    Luyk was drafted by the Knicks, but not until Round 4. He didn’t make the roster and never appeared in the NBA, though he is credited with being one of the first Americans to make a major impact in the European leagues after joining Real Madrid.

    Image from thedraftreview.com

14. Richard Glasper (1976-78)

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    As successful a juco transfer as any in Florida history, Richard Glasper put in two of the best seasons ever logged by a Gator point guard.

    Glasper’s career average of 4.26 assists a game is second best in school history, and his 1.83 steals a night are still a record for the program.

    At just 6’0”, Glasper’s NBA prospects were limited despite his considerable skill. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

13. Joe Hobbs (1955-58)

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    One of the earliest breakout scorers in the Gator backcourt, Joe Hobbs was a threat from anywhere on the floor. Hobbs’ career average of 19.6 points a game (over three seasons) is the second highest in program history.

    Florida’s first-ever NBA draft pick, Hobbs went to the Lakers in the ninth round. Given his low draft position, it’s none too surprising that he didn’t make the roster and never played in the league.

12. Joakim Noah (2004-07)

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    He’s never had the shooting touch of teammate Al Horford, but center Joakim Noah was still a major factor on offense for the Gators’ 2006 and 2007 national champions.

    The 6’11” Noah could outrun any opponent big enough to guard him, and he used his boundless energy to rack up 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks a night over the course of the two championship seasons.

    In five years with the Bulls, Noah has established himself as one of the NBA’s top rebounders.

    He earned second-team All-Defensive recognition last year, and at 9.5 boards a game this season, he has a reasonable shot at reaching double digits for the third year in a row.

11. Ronnie Montgomery (1984-88)

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    Although he never got the press of high-scoring backcourt mate Vernon Maxwell, Ronnie Montgomery made his own contributions to the Gators' first NCAA tournament run in 1987.

    Montgomery, whose skill as a distributor set up many of Maxwell's scoring opportunities, holds the school record (at least until Erving Walker's next game) with a career total of 503 assists.

    Never much of a scoring threat, Montgomery had little chance to make it in the NBA. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

10. Dwayne Davis (1987-91)

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    Overshadowed much of his career by seven-footer Dwayne Schintzius, Dwayne Davis was an extraordinary post player in his own right.

    Davis holds not-unrelated school records for dunks (168) and field-goal percentage (.641) in a career, he’s fifth on the school charts with 921 rebounds and 160 blocks, and he even finished fourth all-time among Gators with 178 steals.

    For all Davis’ impressive defensive talents, he was no real threat to score from farther out than a few feet. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

9. Udonis Haslem (1998-02)

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    While Mike Miller provided the perimeter flair, Udonis Haslem anchored Florida’s 2000 national runners-up in the low post.

    The bruising Haslem amassed 831 rebounds and 120 blocks, but his biggest contribution was his inside scoring presence: 1,781 career points, third most in program history.

    In nine seasons with the Heat, Haslem has been a dependable rebounder and occasional scorer who’s served as a steady counterbalance to the team’s volatile stars.

    A starter on the 2006 NBA champs, he’s now in his third season as a productive reserve at the PF spot.

8. Eddie Shannon (1995-99)

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    Backcourt defense has been a staple of Florida’s basketball success, and no Gators guard has matched the exploits of Eddie Shannon.

    Also a terrific passer whose 493 assists are third in program history, Shannon holds the school record with 204 steals in his four collegiate seasons.

    Shannon battled vision problems his entire career, a concern that could hardly have helped his standing with NBA scouts. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

7. Eugene McDowell (1981-85)

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    A four-year starter for the Gators, Eugene McDowell was a first-class post player from the get-go. He became just the second Florida player ever to record 1,000 rebounds in his career, and his 43 career double-doubles are a school record.

    Although McDowell became a third-round pick of the Bucks, he didn’t make the roster. He never played in the NBA.

    Image from thedraftreview.com

6. Erving Walker (2008-Present)

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    One of the best small guards in the nation at 5’8”, Erving Walker is making a great case for being the best point guard ever to wear a Gator uniform.

    Walker’s 498 assists leave him just five shy of the school record with six games left in the regular season.

    Walker is far more than just a distributor, having averaged at least one steal per game in all four of his seasons and scored (to date) 1,629 points to place fifth in program history.

    A strong showing in the NCAA tournament will cement his legacy as Florida’s greatest floor leader.

5. Al Horford (2004-07)

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    Extraordinarily mobile at 6’10”, 245 lbs, Al Horford kept Florida’s offense working in the half court and on the fast break during two national title runs.

    The PF posted 869 career rebounds, good for a share of sixth place on the school’s charts, while his 28 double-doubles rank seventh on that list.

    Horford’s mix of strength and agility has served him well at the NBA level. He’s in his fifth season (including two All-Star berths) with the Hawks, having posted career averages of 12.8 points and 9.5 rebounds a night.

4. Dwayne Schintzius (1986-90)

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    7’1” Dwayne Schintzius provided the inside presence for Florida’s first-ever NCAA tournament team in 1987.

    A dangerous scorer whose 1,624 points are sixth-most in program history, Schintzius was even more of a force on defense, where he blocked a school-record 272 shots in his career.

    Injuries destroyed Schintzius’ mobility in the NBA, relegating him to a lackluster career as a backup. In eight seasons with the Nets and others, he never averaged more than 3.8 points a game.

    Image from tampabayonline.net

3. Andrew Moten (1983-87)

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    The floor leader for the first NCAA tournament team in Florida history, Andrew Moten was as complete as it gets at the point guard spot. He could score (1,930 points, second in program history), shoot the 3 (.445 in his lone season after the introduction of the shot), distribute (411 assists, sixth-best for a Gator) and play defense (165 steals, also sixth).

    A fourth-round pick of the Nets, Moten fared even worse than many 80s draftees of that star-crossed franchise. He never appeared in an NBA game.

    Image from thedraftreview.com

2. Ronnie Williams (1980-84)

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    Four times an all-SEC pick, Ronnie Williams led the Gators in scoring in every season he played in Gainesville.

    Also an accomplished rebounder who grabbed 954 boards (fourth in school history), Williams smashed the school record with 2,090 career points.

    Williams’ scoring touch earned him a second-round draft selection from the Celtics. It didn’t, however, give him a chance to crack the Larry Bird-led frontcourt rotation, and he never played in the NBA.

    Image from fanbase.com

1. Neal Walk (1966-69)

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    6’10” Neal Walk dominated games like no other center in Gator history.

    Walk holds two of the top four scoring seasons in Florida’s record books, he’s the only Gator to average over 20 points per game for a career, and his 1,181 rebounds (15.3 per night) are also a school record.

    Walk was a perfectly solid NBA center, averaging 20.2 points and 12.4 rebounds a night in his best year with the Suns. Through no fault of his own, though, he was held to an impossible standard of performance.

    Walk was chosen by Phoenix (with the No. 2 overall pick in 1969) only after the club had lost a coin toss to Milwaukee for the top choice: Lew Alcindor, later to become the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Image from gatorzone.com

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