After winning the 2006 NCAA title (the first in school history), Florida accomplished a near-miracle by losing none of its five starters to the NBA.
The story of how Florida won the 2006 NCAA title is a wild one. They were ranked 75th in the preseason but came out on fire and won their first 17 straight, swept through the SEC tournament and other than a tough Sweet 16 game with Georgetown, wasn’t really tested on their way to the title. The core of that team, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Horford, and Taurean Green, were all roommates.
What was more shocking than Florida beating the living shit out of all the other teams in their war path was their decision to come back even with Joakim Noah expected to go #1 overall in one of the weakest draft classes in modern memory (Andrea Bargnani went #1 overall LOL). The other two stars on the team, Corey Brewer and Al Horford would have also gone in the top 5.
But because they were roommates and best friends, they decided if one player came back, they all would come back to try and repeat.
That 2007 Florida team was a monster and there hasn’t been a team to go back to back since. We recently had Corey Brewer (who is now the skills development coach for the New Orleans Pelicans) on the THIS LEAGUE podcast to discuss that Florida squad and he gave insight into what went into that decision but also was very happy to compare his 07 team to every NCAA champ since.
With the Final Four coming up I asked him whether he watches the tournament and feels the urge to compare his team to the teams in the tournament and imagine how they’d match up. This is a portion of what he said:
TK: When you watch March Madness now, if it was me, I would be comparing my team to every March Madness run that there is. I wonder how our team would stack up against this national title team. Do you do that?
COREY: For sure. We watch games and are like, who's going to win it all? Could they beat us? NO WAY. There's no way they could beat us. Just thinking back over the years, I always come to the conclusion, nah, they can't beat us.
TK: Since 2007, you don't think any national champion could beat you guys?
COREY: No way. There's been some really good teams, don't get me wrong … the Kentucky team with Anthony Davis was really good. But no team could beat us because we had everything. We had all 5 positions. And definitely, no one had two bigs together that were better than our two bigs.
Here’s where I mention that Florida had FIVE players drafted in 2007 off that team, and with overseas pros like Lee Humphreys, TEN dudes who played pro basketball.
My lord I tell you this is exactly what I want to hear. A player with the passion and confidence that says “nope, we’re still the best NCAA champs in modern memory and no one can touch that team since”. Like be serious, I know that Gonzaga is running through this tournament like a buzz saw but do you think Timme matches up as well with Al Horford or Noah? No sir, that boy would get tossed around like a headband wearing, rag doll.
We talked more about this with Corey along with whether Lonzo Ball will be back with the Pelicans even with all of the chatter of him going to the Knicks. Please give it a watch on Youtube because Corey was fantastic and had a ton of funny and insightful things to say.