When the reigning champion North Carolina Tar Heels were knocked out of March Madness this past weekend, it wasn’t just another upset in what has been an absolutely wild tournament so far – it also ensured that for the eleventh straight season college basketball won’t have a repeat title winner.
The last team to pull off that feat was the 2007 Florida Gators. The Gators were led by a collection of upperclassmen who all elected to bypass the NBA draft and return to school – a rarity even then. They were dominant all year, and claimed a number one seed in the NCAA tournament, ultimately dispatching a Greg Oden-led Ohio State team in the national title game.
Below, we take a look at what became of those Florida Gators after their historic run ended.
Joakim Noah was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for the Gators’ first national title, was a second-team All-American in 2007, and let the Gators in blocked shots in 2007.
Noah was drafted by the Bulls in 2007 and had a successful career in Chicago, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2014. He is currently on the New York Knicks.
Corey Brewer was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2007, and led the Gators in steals that season.
Brewer was also a lottery pick in 2007, but he has been a journeyman in his NBA career. He just recently joined the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Al Horford was an AP Third Team All-American, the SEC Tournament MVP, and let the Gators in rebounds in 2007.
Since being drafted in 2007, Horford has had a long, successful NBA career, earning multiple All-Star and All-NBA selections.
Lee Humphrey was a starter and ace three-point shooter for the Gators, as well a First-Team Academic All-American and the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Humphrey played overseas for a time after leaving Florida. He currently lives in Jacksonville, hosts basketball clinics, and remains an avid supporter of the Gators.
Taurean Green was a starter on those two title-winning teams and led the 2007 Gators in scoring.
Green left Florida for the NBA after the 2007 season, but only spent a season in the NBA before taking his career abroad. He currently plays professionally in Israel.
Chris Richard was a backup senior big man and Florida native on the ’07 Gators.
Richard had a brief professional basketball career. He currently runs the Championship Performance Academy, a basketball and fitness training academy based in Central Florida.
Source: Championship Performance Academy
Walter Hodge was a backup guard and dead-eye shooter for the Gators.
Hodge graduated from Florida in 2009. He never made it to the NBA, but has managed a long career overseas. He currently plays in Lebanon.
Marreese Speights was a backup freshman big man for the ’07 Gators.
Speights would leave Florida for the NBA in 2008. He was a reserve on the title-winning 2015 Golden State Warriors, and currently plays back in Florida for the Orlando Magic.
A protege of Rick Pitino, whom he played for at Providence College, Donovan had been the head coach at Florida since 1996 before finally guiding the Gators to their first national title in basketball in 2006.
Billy Donovan remained at Florida for several more years, and took the Gators to another Final Four in 2014, before leaving to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015.
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