No one had more fun in college than the 2005-2006 Florida Gator basketball team. In particular, four roommates who became lifelong best friends: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, and Taurean Green.
Corey Brewer said in a recent interview that their household were beer pong champions and in fact with Al Horford’s long ass arms, they never lost once a match. Just dunking the ping pong ball mere inches from the cup standing behind the table.
My God. What a foursome.
All with long careers in pro basketball (Brewer and Noah retired this year after 14 years in the league, Horford is still playing (well, not ACTUALLY playing) in OKC, and Green is playing pro ball still in Poland after a brief stint in the league.
I had Corey Brewer on the last episode of This League where he made the bold claim that no championship team since 2007 could have beaten the Gators.
I love that these guys sit back and watch the Final Four with the thought, yeah, they couldn’t take us. No way.
But what I found most interesting was Corey’s confession that the roommates all decided that if one person stayed in college, they would ALL stay in college to defend their title (beer pong and the NCAA).
But that decision changed the course of the NBA forever. The 2006 draft was significantly weaker than 2007 and Brewer, Noah, and Horford were all slated to go top 5 before deciding “nah we’re having too much damn fun here in Gainesville”.
This is what he told us about his decision to stay:
COREY: Everyone expected us to go to the draft. After you go to the championship, your stock is high like REALLY high. We were all going to be lottery picks. That’s what everyone was saying. [Joakim Noah] was #1 for sure.
Bargnani doesn’t go number 1 if we come out.
But it’s one of those things, you’re having so much fun, you don’t want it to end. We really didn’t want it to end, we were having THAT much. Everything was perfect. We lived together, we saw each other every day. We were winning. We’re at the University of Florida! Amazing campus. Football team is winning and everyday is a great day when you wake up.
After we won it, we all went home to see our families and tried to make a decision. Me personally, my dad was like “you don’t have to go to the NBA it’s not about the money and it’s not about us. We’re fine. My parents were older, they were in their 60s at the time and were like “we’ve lived our whole life, this is all about your life and about what makes YOU happy.”
For me when I went back to school I was like I want to stay in school. I'm having so much fun. Don’t get me wrong I want to play in the NBA its a dream come true. But you only go to college one time. Once you leave college it’s over. You can’t go back. In my day it was you either went or you didn’t.
For me I wanted to come back and I feel like Al, he was leaning towards going [to the pros], Jo was like if one of us comes back we’re all coming back.
The number one pick in the draft was like I don’t care about going #1, if one of us comes back we’re all coming back. What a guy. Turning down LIFE changing money to stay another year with his best friends.
So I got to thinking, what if Corey Brewer’s parents would have put pressure on him or needed him to go pro? Let’s say Corey says, let’s go. We’re all going to the draft. How would that have changed the 2006 NBA draft and what would that have meant going forward for the league?
What a fun hypothetical.
Here’s how the draft actually went:
Here’s how the draft probably would have gone, if those three turned pro.
Toronto Raptors: Joakim Noah
Chicago Bulls: Andrea Bargnani
Charlotte Hornets: Al Horford
Portland Trailblazers: Lamarcus Aldridge
Atlanta Hawks: Corey Brewer
Minnesota Timberwolves: Adam Morrison
Boston Celtics: Brandon Roy
Houston Rockets: Tyrus Thomas
Golden State: Sheldon Williams
Seattle Supersonics: Randy Foye
Let’s just look at a FEW of the seismic changes this would have made in the NBA.
First off, the Toronto Raptors get so much better. Chris Bosh, Antonio Davis and Joakin Noah up front is a MONSTER front court. The question is, does Bosh ever leave for Miami if this team wins 10 games more that they did? If Chris Bosh doesn’t leave, do the Miami Heat ever get those 2 rings? Maybe they go get Stoudamire instead of Bosh and it’s a different Big 3 in Miami.
Without Noah in Chicago, how does Derrick Rose’s career progress with Bargnani instead of Noah? Not as good, I think.
Portland, because they don’t have Brandon Roy at the guard position, maybe they don’t draft Oden #1 overall in 2007, but instead take a scorer like … I don’t know … Kevin fucking Durant.
And the Boston Celtics, since they now have Brandon Roy, and are about to trade for Kevin Garnett … do they ever pull the trigger on Ray Allen? It is KG and Roy in Boston with Paul Pierce?
What a WILD what if scenario. And it never played out because these Gator boys just wanted to hang out and play beer pong for another year … and win another Natty along the way.
What a fucking turn of events.
How else do you think this impacts the league? Drop in comments and the best answers will be played on Friday's episode