Two time champion Gators receive rings today


Published: Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Corey Brewer is looking forward to hearing the roar of the Florida fans one more time.

The 2007 national champion Gator basketball team will be honored in a ceremony 20 minutes before Florida's kickoff against Tennessee at Florida Field. Players and coaches will be presented with their championship rings after a brief video tribute.

"It means a lot," Brewer said. "It's what we worked so hard for, to get a chance to celebrate with the fans and our teammates."

Brewer returned to Gainesville this week for the ceremony, with "04" teammates Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Taurean Green. Chris Richard also has made it back, though Lee Humphrey will be unable to attend because he recently signed a contract to play professionally in Greece.

The group made history last April, becoming the first college basketball team since Duke in 1992 to win back-to-back national titles. More history followed in June, when Horford, Noah and Brewer became the first college teammates in history to get picked within the first 10 selections of the NBA draft.

Horford went third overall to the Atlanta Hawks, with Brewer going seventh to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Noah going ninth to the Chicago Bulls. In all, five Florida players were picked in the draft with Richard (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Green (Portland Trail Blazers) going in the second round.

For the five, it will serve as one last chance to celebrate before NBA training camps open in early October. They will appear in autograph sessions at Ballyhoo Grill from 11 a.m.-noon this morning and The Gator Shop from 1-2 p.m. before the ceremony and will get together for a private party tonight.

Brewer said he's not concerned about Minnesota trading Kevin Garnett. Several young players came in return, including forward Al Jefferson.

"We're going to be all right," Brewer said. "We're going to be a young team that gets up and down the floor. Myself, C-Rich, Al, we're all working hard."

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com.

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