- Florida Gators men's basketball
Infobox CBB Team
name = Florida Gators
logo_size = 150px
university = University of Florida
conference = Southeastern Conference
conference_short = SEC
city = Gainesville
stateabb = FL
state = Florida
tenure = 12th
Stephen C. O'Connell Center
capacity = 12,000
nickname = Gators
color1 = Orange
color2 = Blue
hex1 = FF4A00
hex2 = 0000CB
NCAAchampion = 2006, 2007
NCAArunnerup = 2000
NCAAfinalfour = 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007
NCAAtourneys = 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
NCAAeliteeight = 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007
NCAAsweetsixteen = 1987, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007
NCAAsecondround = 1987, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
conference_tournament = 2005, 2006, 2007
conference_season = 1989, 2000, 2001, 2007
Florida Gatorsmen's basketball team represents the University of Floridain NCAA Division Icompetition, in which they are a member of the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division. They play their home games at the Stephen C. O'Connell Centerin Gainesville, Florida, USA. Billy Donovanhas been the head coach of the Gators since the 1996-97 season.
The Gators have two national championships, having won the
2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournamentand 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournamentback-to-back, the first team since the 1991-1992 Duke team to accomplish this feat and the first to do it with the same starting lineup.
The Florida Gators men's team annually plays a 16-game conference schedule that is preceded by an out of conference schedule against few annual opponents except for Florida State. Their conference schedule consists of a pair of home-and-home games against the other five SEC Eastern Division teams, plus one game against each of the six Western Division teams, with home games alternating each season. The Gators have seldom had rivals in basketball until recently, when their success found them competing against Kentucky and Tennessee.
Florida began play in basketball in 1915-16 under head coach C.J. McCoy. The team went 5-1 its first year, but the following three seasons were all canceled due to
World War I. The team started back up in the 1919-20 season without a head coach at all, though they did have a new venue—the newly-built University Gymnasium. W.G. Kline took over coaching duties from 1920-1922.
By the mid-1920s the team outgrew the University Gymnasium (now called the Women's Gymnasium), so the university built another gym to hold the crowds of the fast-growing student population. Dubbed the New Gym, the Gators played there until 1949, when
In 1932, Florida joined the
Southeastern Conferenceas a charter member.
The team moved from the Florida Gym to the
Stephen C. O'Connell Centerduring the 1980-81 season.
Under the tenure of
Norm Sloan, Vernon Maxwellled the team to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen in 1987, and Sloan coached the team to the tournament again the following two years, winning the first SEC Championship outright in the 1988-1989 season. After a drug scandal involving Maxwell, Sloan left and the program went on probation. Don DeVoecoached the team for the 1989-90 season. Lon Krugerwas hired as the coach before the 1990-91 season. Despite the probation he inherited, Kruger slowly brought the team to increased success and reached the NIT final four in his second year as coach. In 1993-94, the pieces fell into place for Florida to have their best season ever at that time. Behind Andrew DeClercqand Dametri Hill, the Gators went to their first Final Four following a dramatic victory over UConn where Donyell Marshallmissed two free throws with no time on the clock to force overtime, where the Gators eventually prevailed. They lost to Duke in the national semifinal, 70-65. The next year, they returned to the NCAA tournament, but were eliminated in the first round. Kruger's final season in 1995-96 resulted in a losing record, and he left to coach at Illinois.
Florida's Athletic Director,
Jeremy Foley, looking for a young coach with a proven track record, hired Billy Donovan, then at Marshall, as Kruger's replacement. His recruiting prowess was evident early, bringing future NBA star Jason Williams with him from Marshall and having early recruiting classes with future NBA players Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, and Matt Bonner, among others. The Gators made the NCAA Tournament every year from Donovan's third season with the team through the 2006-2007 season, a nine-year streak that is the school record, and the sixth-longest NCAA Tournament streak.
During the 1999-2000 season, the upstart Gators beat such traditional powerhouses as Duke, Illinois (led by former coach
Lon Kruger), and North Carolina to advance to their first National Championship Game, before losing to heavily-favored Michigan State.
During the next few years the Gators went to the NCAA Tournament every year, but each year they lost in the first or second round. The Gators however repeated as SEC Champions during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons. The 2004-2005 team had the distinction of being the first to win an SEC Tournament Championship, when they beat rival Kentucky in the title game.
2005-2006 National Championship Season
The 2005-2006 team began the season unranked and went on a 17-0 winning streak for the best start in school history, surprising many with a young (four sophomores and one junior) but selfless squad following the graduation of David Lee and the departures of Matt Walsh and
Anthony Robersonto the NBA. The trio accounted for 60% of their offense in 2005. The team faded late in the regular season, losing its last 3 games in February and entering the postseason with a 24-6 record, yet still managed to win it's second consecutive SEC Tournament Championship.
The Gators entered the
2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournamentas a #3 seed with a 27-6 record and #10 national ranking. They beat South Alabama and Milwaukee to advance to the Minneapolisregional. There, the Gators defeated the Georgetown Hoyas and upset the top-seeded Villanova Wildcats 75-62 to avenge their loss in the previous year's tournament and move on to their second Final Fourunder Donovan.
Florida defeated the upstart George Mason Patriots 73-58 in the national semifinals in Indianapolis. On
April 3 2006, the Gators defeated the UCLA Bruins 73-57 in the National Finals to win the school's first men's basketball NCAA Championship. The University of Florida Athletic Association then purchased the floor used in Indianapolis for the Final Four, and installed it in the O'Connell Center.
2006-2007 National Championship Season
The Gators returned all five starters from their championship team to begin the 2006-07 basketball season as the preseason #1 in both major media polls, a first for the university. The Gators locked up the SEC regular season Championship relatively early in the 06-07 season and were in possession of a 24-2 record before going on a late-February 1-3 skid that mirrored their 0-3 run a year earlier. For the second season in a row, the losses in February would be their last. Florida closed out Kentucky on Senior Night to end the regular season 26-5, and won their 3rd straight SEC Tournament Championship with relative ease, beating cbb link|season=2006-07|sex=men|team=Georgia Bulldogs|school=University of Georgia|title=Georgia, cbb link|season=2006-07|sex=men|team=Ole Miss Rebels|school=University of Mississippi|title=Ole Miss, and cbb link|season=2006-07|sex=men|team=Arkansas Razorbacks|school=University of Arkansas|title=Arkansas 77-56.
Florida entered the
2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournamentas the #1 overall seed in the tournament, and they advanced to the Final Fourafter wins in the regional against #5 seed Butler and #3 seed Oregon. In a rematch of the 2006 title game, the Gators again eliminated the UCLA Bruins. Florida defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 84-75, in a rematch of a game they won 86-60 three months earlier, to become the first team since the 1991-92 Duke Blue Devils to win back-to-back National Championships and the first college team ever repeat as National Champions with the same starting lineup. Billy Donovanis currently the head coach of the Gators. Having recently completed his 11th season as coach, agreed to coach for the NBA's Orlando Magicon May 31, 2007. It was revealed on June 3, however, that Donovan had done an about-face and asked to be freed from his contract with the Magic to return to Florida. He was soon thereafter released from his contract and reintroduced as the Gators coach on June 7.
Head men's basketball coaches, including years coached:
*C.J. McCoy, 1915–1916 (no team 1917-1918, no coach 1919-20)
*W.G. Kline, 1920–1922
*C.Y. Byrd, 1922–1923
*J.L. White, 1923–1925
*Brady Cowell, 1925–1933
*Ben Clemmons, 1933–1936
Josh Cody, 1936–1937
*Sam McAllister, 1937–1942
*Spurgeon Cherry, 1942–1946 (no team 1943-44)
*Sam McAllister, 1946–1951
John Mauer. 1951–1960
Norm Sloan, 1960–1966
*Tommy Bartlett, 1966–1973
*John Lotz, 1973–1980
*Ed Visscher (interim), 1980–1980
Norm Sloan, 1980–1989
Don DeVoe(interim), 1989–1990
Lon Kruger, 1991–1996
Billy Donovan, 1996–present
*University Gymnasium ("The Gym"), 1920–1927
*Building R ("New Gym"), 1928–1949
*Florida Gym ("Alligator Alley"), 1950–1980, capacity 7,000
Stephen C. O'Connell Center("The O-Dome"), 1980–present, capacity 12,000
Matt Bonner, power forward for the San Antonio Spurs
Andrew DeClercq, former NBAcenter
Udonis Haslem, power forward for the Miami Heat
*David Lee, power forward for the
New York Knicks
Vernon Maxwell, former NBA guard
small forwardfor the Memphis Grizzlies
*Chris Richard, power forward for the
Dwayne Schintzius, former NBA player
Neal Walk, former NBA player and paralympic athlete
*Jason Williams, former NBA player
2006-2007 Basketball Championship starting five
Corey Brewer, small forward, Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 Final Four; now with the Minnesota Timberwolves
Taurean Green, point guardand son of former NBA player Sidney Green; now with the Denver Nuggets
Al Horford, center and son of former NBA player Tito Horford; now with the Atlanta Hawks
Lee Humphrey, shooting guard, all-time leader for three-point shots made in the NCAA Tournament and all-time leading three-point scorer at Florida; now playing professionally in Greece.
Joakim Noah, power forward & son of former tennis player Yannick Noah, Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 Final Four; now with the Chicago Bulls
Neal Walk, center
Neal Walk, center
Udonis Haslem, center
Al Horford, forward
Joakim Noah, center
Neal Walk, center (1967-69)
University of Florida Athletic Association
* [http://www.gatorzone.com/basketball/men/ Official website] at Gatorzone.com
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