Behind arguably the best starting five in college hoops since Duke in '92, the Florida Gators made history by capturing back-to-back NCAA titles with a thrilling 84-75 victory over the resillient Ohio State Buckeyes. The Most Oustanding Player (MOP) of the tournament was Florida's guard/forward Corey Brewer, the most versatile player the league has seen in quite some time. Other standouts were center Al Horford, forward Joakim Noah & three-point shooting sensation, senior guard Lee Humphrey.
Florida coach Billy Donovan, when asked about his team's amazing season, said, "we have to rank right up there with some of the greatest teams in NCAA history." The last school to win back-to-back titles was Duke in '91 & '92, led by Grant Hill, Christian Laettner & Bobby Hurley, along with their heralded coach Mike Kryzezwski. The legendary John Wooden coached UCLA Bruins teams of Lew Alcindor & Bill Walton in the 60's have also won consecutive titles.
One of the more intriguing aspects of this season began when Brewer, Horford, Noah & guard Taurean Green - each of whom have famous athletic fathers - announced their willingness to return to the University of Florida for another year. Each of them were sophomores, driven by the pressure to go pro, make crazy money & receive lucrative endorsements, yet the group of close friends decided to stay & play for history.
After their crushing opening tournament win over Jackson State, Florida was thoroughly challenged by both Butler & Xavier before defeating last year's runner-up, UCLA, in an exciting overtime game. To reach the final game, Ohio State, led by super freshmans guard Mike Conley, Jr. & center Greg Oden, handily defeated North Carolina in overtime, thwarting Roy Williams' bid to take more than one team (in '88 he coached Kansas, led by Danny Manning, to a championship) to the Finals.
Ironically, at a teary-eyed press conference a couple of days after their monumental achievement, seniors Brewer, Green, Horford & Noah - flanked by coach Donovan - each declared their eligibility for the NBA draft in 2007. Donovan was courted by the University of Kentucky to lead their team to the promised land after Tubby Smith stepped down & signed a seven-year contract to coach the University of Minnesota. Donovan decided to stay on in Florida. In lieu of these events, the upcoming season of college basketball looms interesting. Stay tuned.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.