The Florida Gators men’s basketball team brought the university NCAA Championships in both 2006 and 2007. In 2007, five players from that team were drafted into the NBA. Since that draft, there have been just seven players taken in the NBA Draft, including a gap from 2013 to 2016. Billy Donovan was able to produce NBA talent that has stuck around the league. Some provided All-NBA play, others added All-Star Games, and there are even some NBA Champions sprinkled in.
Though some are able to be fortunate enough to get drafted to the next level, there are skill sets that flounder out at the next level. Three of the five players drafted from the NCAA Championship teams were able to put together lengthy careers while the other two struggled to find a role in the NBA game. Some of the former Gators have been able to hang around the NBA for the better of two decades, staying a contributor for championship caliber NBA teams.
Let’s check out the players that were able to give the Florida Gators program something to be proud of at the next level, while we also take a look at some of the better players that should be remembered for their college play rather than their attempt at an NBA career.
15. Best – Mike Miller
Let’s start off with the longest-tenured player in the NBA. Mike Miller was drafted in 2000, and was still seeing NBA minutes during the 2016-2017 NBA season. The Orlando Magic used their 5th overall pick on Miller, and there he was able to bring home NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA All-Rookie First Team. After the better part of three seasons, Miller was moved to Memphis, where he was able to bring home a NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
Miller eventually ended up in Miami with the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. There, he served as a sharp shooter on the wing and helped the Miami Heat to two NBA Championships. Miller has appeared in 94 playoff games in 10 trips.
14. Worst – James White
James White actually finished his college career with Cincinnati, but he did attend and appear in 30 games while averaging 6.1 minutes for the Gators. The NBA fan probably remembers White for his return to the NBA and his dunking ability that was mostly showcased in the NBA D-League. White was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers and immediately traded to the Indiana Pacers, for whom he did not appear in a single NBA game. He was waived and picked up by the San Antonio Spurs, where he was a member of an NBA Champion. During the 2006-2007 season, White appeared in 6 games including 2 starts, while averaging 8.3 points per showing. White appeared in just three NBA seasons, his most successful being in 2012-2013 for the New York Knicks where he played 57 games, including 16 starts. White has not been in the league since, and has most likely finished up his NBA career with averages of 2.7 ppg and 1.0 rpg.
13. Best – Corey Brewer
The first three members of our list are NBA Champions. Corey Brewer added the title to his resume as a part of the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks. Brewer was also a member of both Florida NCAA Championship teams. Following the 2007 title, he was selected 7th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Brewer has bounced around the NBA, playing for five teams in 10 seasons, but he has been able to contribute where he ended up. Brewer has appeared in 711 NBA games, including playing all 82 games four times in his career.
Aside from his championship ring, Brewer’s career highlight came on April 11, 2014, in a game vs. the Houston Rockets. In his second stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Brewer was able to put together a 50-point game.
12. Worst – Chris Richard
The first member of the NCAA Championship teams that is going to land on the wrong side of our list is Chris Richard. At 6-foot-9 and labeled as a power forward and center, Richard was undersized for the NBA game, and unfortunately never found a true role. Richard appeared in 52 games with the Timberwolves his rookie year, where he saw 10.7 minutes per night. In that limited time, he averaged 1.9 points and 2.6 rebounds. The following season, Richard spent the whole season in the NBA D-League. In 2009-2010, the former Gator managed to find time with the Chicago Bulls for 18 games. That would end up being his last dose of NBA action. The former second round pick has not played in the NBA since 2010.
11. Best – Udonis Haslem
He’s the epitome of steady and tough. Udonis Haslem may not be an All-Star or All-NBA player, but he sure has made his impact on the Miami Heat. Haslem went undrafted out of Florida, and after the Heat gave him a shot, the rest was history. Haslem started 24 out of 75 games his rookie season en route to a All-Rookie Team spot. In 2004-2005, he took over the starting role at power forward, which included his first NBA Championship in 2006. From the 2004-2005 season through the 2008-2009 season, Haslem started all but two games he appeared in. He added two more NBA Championship to his resume as a member of the 2012 and 2013 NBA Champion Heat teams. Haslem is also the Miami Heat’s all-time leading rebounder.
10. Worst – Nick Calathes
While the Florida Gators were winning NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007, Nick Calathes was being named Florida Mr. Basketball for each of those two years. Calathes joined the Gators following the championship run and stayed in college for two years. He posted career highs that consisted of 17.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 6.4 apg during his second season. He would be drafted with the 45th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesosta Timberwolves, but first decided to play professionally in Greece. His rights bounced around until he finally reported to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013. In his first season Calathes appeared in 71 games and started 7 for an injured Mike Conley. After just one more season with Memphis, Calathes went back to play in Greece. At least Nick Calathes knew where he would excel professionally.
9. Best – Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah just experienced his worst year as a pro as a member for the New York Knicks, and his best years may be behind him. But that doesn’t take away from what he has been able to accomplish in the NBA. Noah was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for the 2006 NCAA Championship Gators, and was a vital piece of the 2007 run as well when he earned Second Team All American Honors.
The Chicago Bulls used the 9th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft on the Gators center. During his time in Chicago, Noah earned two NBA All-Defensive First Team berths, one NBA All-Defensive Second Team berth, one All-NBA First Team, and one NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. He was also a two-time NBA All-Star. It remains to be seen if he ever revitalizes his career, but it’s not a bad resume overall for the former Florida Gator.
8. Worst – Chandler Parsons
Argue if you want, but what has Chandler Parsons really shown since leaving Florida? After earning SEC Player of the Year, and Honorable Mention All American in his senior season as a Gator, Parsons was taken in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. He did earn a NBA All-Rookie Second Team spot during his rookie year, but injuries and changes of scenery have made Parsons’ NBA career a confusing one.
After spending his first three years in Houston, and starting all but 6 games he appeared in, the Rockets did not sign Parsons and instead he walked and moved on to the Dallas Mavericks. He then clashed with management and coaching and played just 127 games in two seasons due to injury. Parsons signed with the Grizzlies before the 2016-2017 season and appeared in just 34 games during the past season. Parsons has been stealing big pay days despite not proving if his health or play can stay consistent.
7. Best – Marreese Speights
You may be wondering how Marreese Speights ends up on the good side of this list but not Chandler Parsons. Speights carved out a role in the NBA game and has stuck to it. He has become an asset for numerous contenders during recent years. Another member of the 2007 NCAA Champion, Speights was selected in the 1st round of the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. As a Sixer, he displayed his energy off the bench with the ability to knock down mid range jumpers. He averaged 7.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in just 14.7 minutes per game.
After more of the same in Memphis and Cleveland, Speights found himself a home with the Golden State Warriors. There, he would help the Warriors to the NBA Championship while averaging a career high 10.4 points per game. He currently plays a key off-the-bench role for the Los Angeles Clippers.
6. Worst – Vernon Macklin
Vernon Macklin began his collegiate career at Georgetown before finishing up his junior and senior season with the Florida Gators. There, he averaged double digit scoring in both seasons and ended up being drafted with a 2nd round pick by the Detroit Pistons. Macklin appeared in 23 games during the 2011-12 season where scored a total of 46 points while adding 34 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks, and 9 personal fouls. That would prove to be his last NBA action. Currently, Macklin is playing professionally in Qatar.
5. Best – David Lee
He might not be the All-Star he was a few years back, but David Lee is still supplying NBA minutes for title contenders. Lee was drafted 30th overall by the New York Knicks in the 2005 NBA Draft. There, he went to his first NBA All-Star game in 2010. Following that season, he was a part of a sign-and-trade that sent him to the Golden State Warriors. In Golden State, he played an integral part in building the Warriors into the franchise they are today. Lee added another All-Star Game in 2013 as well as an All-NBA Third Team appearance. And in 2015, the Warriors became NBA Champions. The two parties would split ways following the NBA championship and after bouncing around in Boston and Dallas, Lee joined the Spurs for the 2016-2017 season, where his is enjoying a role off the bench. With career numbers of 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds on 53.5 percent shooting, Lee has put together a stellar NBA career.
4. Worst – Erik Murphy
After earning First Team All SEC accolades for the 2012-2013 season, the Chicago Bulls made Erik Murphy the 49th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. There, he would have a tough time adjusting. During the season, which would turn out to be his only in the NBA, Murphy played in 62 minutes, scored 6 points, tallied 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks. His 7 personal fouls outdoes the rest of his career stats.
Murphy bounced around the NBA D-League with hopes of returning to the NBA one day. He was last a member of the Boston Celtics in 2014-2015 who waived him on Oct 21. Murphy currently plays professionally in France.
3. Best – Bradley Beal
The Washington Wizards are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA Eastern Conference. The young backcourt duo of John Wall and former Gator Bradley Beal are the reason for that. After spending one year at Florida in which he averaged 14.8 points in his first and only season at Florida, Beal was selected with the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Beal earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors while averaging 13.9 points as a rookie. He would up that number to 17.1 in year two, and after two injury ridiculed seasons, Beal put up a career high 23.1 points per game during the current 2016-2017 campaign. This helped the Wizards to a 49-33 record and their first Division title since 1979. At just 23 years of age, Beal may push his way to the top of our list.
2. Worst – Taurean Green
Taurean Green was a starter on both the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Championship Florida Gators teams. After 3 years at Florida and averaging 13.3 points for back to back seasons, Green was drafted 52nd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. After being sent down to the NBA D-League on numerous occasions, Green was traded to the Denver Nuggets after just 8 appearances with Portland. There, he would again spend more time with D-League affiliate the Colorado 14ers than with the Denver Nuggets. Again after just 9 appearances, Green was traded to the New York Knicks. There, he would not see an NBA minute.
1. Best – Al Horford
Just as he is in the NBA, Al Horford was a steady presence in the post. As he was able to guard bigger opponents as well as score, Horford posted career highs of 13.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.8 blocks in his third and final season at Florida. Another member of the back to back National Championship teams, Horford was selected with the 3rd pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. There, he teamed up with Joe Johnson and Josh Smith to form a Big Three for Atlanta. The team made numerous playoff runs throughout the tenure. Horford’s accomplishments include NBA All-Rookie First Team, one All-NBA Third Team, and four All-Star appearances.
Horford moved on from the Hawks after nine seasons, and in 2016-2017 helped the Boston Celtics to the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
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