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February 7, 2019 at 2:14 pm #41716
While growing up here in Hogtown (born and raised, and a proud G.H.S grad), I loved watching Florida Football and Basketball. I was once a person to subscribe to the theory that ”U.F wasn’t a basketball school.” When I was a kid, I was acclimated, used to, watching UCLA, Houston’s Phi Slama Jama, and Georgetown, North Carolina, etc.. dominating the NCAA Basketball Tournaments.
Then a guy I played little-league football with at the G.R.D., Vernon Maxwell (Hawk), along with his side-kick, Andre Moten, and the dominator of the paint, the late, great Dwayne Schintzius came to U.F, and it all changed the basketball storyline in Gainesville, FL. And they immediately began to make the Gators successful and created a path to the famous tourney named, ”March Madness.”
Since then, 2 different coaches (Lon Kruger and Billy Donovan), along with 4 different U.F. Basketball teams, finally made it to college basketball’s elusive mountain top, ”The Final Four.”
So when I hear ”Florida isn’t a basketball school, because it’s only a football school,” well chew on these historic Gator Basketball facts, and then discuss why U.F. is NOT a ”basketball school” -if you’d like.
2006, 2007 NCAA National Champions. National Championship Runner-up in the 20000 Finals.
NCAA Tournament Final Four 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2014.
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight 1994, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017.
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen 1987*, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017.
NCAA Tournament appearances 1987*, 1988*, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 *vacated by NCAA.
Southeastern Conference Tournament Champions: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014.
Southeastern Conference Regular Season Champions: 1989, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014.
Go Gators! Just do it! See above, it’s in your DNA! So use it and apply it… now!
As we cannot contain, forever, what we truly are!
February 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm #41718
We became a basketball school when Stormin’ Norman Sloan was hired at UF the first time. His second stint only strengthened our resolve. As with many significant shifts in the college sports world, it took awhile to take hold.
We were truly a football school in those days. I remember ambling into a mostly empty Alligator Alley for games within minutes of tip-off, usually sitting near the Gator bench. Norm Sloan’s booming voice would echo off the wood walls of Florida Gym. I can’t think of any regular event that was less attended in that cavernous space. That was after his hiring increased public interest in the UF basketball program!
If fans will be patient with Coach White, who did very well with the talent he was left from Billy Donovan, he will get his players in the system and continue our progress in hoops. Even the established programs have had ups and down. This is the transition that was mostly avoided when the coaching change occurred.
February 7, 2019 at 4:25 pm #41719
Well said, Mtn2top, and I agree with you on the patience part for Coach White this season. He’s had 3 ”20 or more win seasons” at U.F. so far. But, unfortunately, I don’t see that happening again this season (20 or more W’s).
I do, however, wonder how this coaching staff’s coaching is not an important part of the Gators displaying a lack of basic skill at times this season’s on his U.F. Basketball team, and way too much it shows up. An example: they’re too soft on boxing out, and their switch ‘D’ often sets up too slowly and/or leaves them completely ”mismatched,” and the opposing teams are taking advantage of it. I do, however, believe ”next season” will be the ”barometer,” or the ”make or break” for his chances of redeeming the Gators from this year’s losing season. Because, sadly, I think this Gator basketball team will end up with a losing record, more losses than wins in their overall record and their SEC record.
I do hope I’m wrong, and thanks for contributing, Mtn2top. Go Gators!
February 7, 2019 at 11:46 pm #41721
February 8, 2019 at 9:25 am #41725
Correction: I spelled Moten’s 1st name incorrectly, it’s Andrew. The ”M & M boys” Maxwell & Moten. And I do call Steve’s show quite often, and he plays the ”Devil’s Advocate” on your point, (ironically, since that movie, ”The Devil’s Advocate,” was created/based on a Gainesville, FL. attorney. And I will always love the beautiful, yea I gotta’ crush on her, Charlize Theron’s character saying in the movie, “I want to back to Gainesville!” But Steve Russell often tells me, ”it’s based on perceptions,” whatever that means. But I do love his show! Go Gators!
February 7, 2019 at 7:43 pm #41720
Great points gatorgj70x7. I greatly appreciate your Gatorsports posts.
It took Auburn twenty attempts to get a win here. That says a lot about this program.
We could end up with a losing season, but I’m willing to give our team the benefit of the doubt until we do. We’ve had it so good for so long that people take it for granted that it’s easy to get 20 or even .500 ball in the SEC. The emergence of Tennessee in the East along with the continued solid play of UK, uSC, Vandy makes the learning curve that much steeper.
We’re paying dues with the freshmen. That should help with the transition to a new winning era for Gator hoops. Until then they are going to take some lumps and be a little slow to know where to go and when to do it.
With the lack of an inside presence we have a lot of guys playing out of position for all or part of the games. Hayes is a prime example. He’s a tremendous power forward and great shot blocker. He’s too thin for center and rim protecting.
With the shifting lineups and inconsistent play of our seniors and juniors it’s been challenging to finish games. A little depth, a few points and experience would have made a significant difference at this point in the season.
This is the hand we were dealt this season along with the injuries and other developments. This is where Coach White and staff have work a bit harder to get the best out of this team.
February 8, 2019 at 9:18 am #41724
Thanks for the kind words, Mtn2top. I really enjoy your posts throughout Football and Basketball seasons, as well. As they are the only 2 sports I know well enough (having played them both myself) that I can comment on here regularly. And ”this is the hand we’re dealt” pertaining to Gator Basketball… I just hope we got ”pocket Aces” next season! LOL!
February 8, 2019 at 2:19 pm #41730
I think whether or not a school is classified as a basketball school has more to do with the perception outside the program, and has less to do with wins and losses and more to do with longevity. Kansas has won exactly 1 NC in the last 30 years, but they are one considered one of the top 3 or 4 bluebloods, along with UK, NC, and Duke. It may also have to do with number of successful NBA players, fan support/attendance (even in average seasons–how are our stands except for UK?), and other sports choices.
Duke, UNC, and UK for the MOST part, have not had successful football programs, so its easy for fans to turn their entire focus on hoops. UK is still battling this today, just in reverse, trying to garner excitement over a football team that is perhaps one or two players away from being top echelon.
One final thought on determining if a school is an ‘X’ school, fill in your sport–is it a final destination for any coach? In other words, in hoops, if UK, Kansas, Duke or NC came a calling, would a coach stay or leave?
I would argue UK is not a football school (yet) because every time a coach has any success, they go elsewhere. If the head coach in that very sport thinks the grass is greener, that’s pretty condemning. Watch Stoops after this year if UK has good success again, say 10 wins or more. If he bolts, then UK will never become a football school…
February 9, 2019 at 4:58 am #41753
February 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm #41768
I’d have to agree that UF can be considered a basketball school. Especially from the last two decades that have seen them looked at as a regular in the tournament, and even a multiple 2nd and even 3rd weekend team. Coach Pinkins was brought in this year to help with the inside game, but as i’ve said before in separate posts, there have been very little to work with since they’ve been MIA with lingering injuries and whatever seems to be holding Stokes back. You can’t coach up guys in concussion protocols, or not being able to get on the court because of bad knees. There is a top 10 Center coming in, and hopefully Gak and Stone get healthy and Stokes can get that conditioning up (if that’s the problem). Even with a frontcourt by committe would be better than what we have right now, as there’s not a strong enough presence to either allow for an inside-out game or even just an opening up of the defense for the swingmen to drive to the basket. Hopefully the experience the underclassmen are having to get this year will make a big difference going into next year.
February 16, 2019 at 11:30 am #41863
GOOD STUFF. Coaches can never be 100 percent sure a high-school star will be the same at the next level, particularly at a Power 5 conference school. In my opinion, Hayes and Allen did not improve from their freshman years. Hudson seems to be a case of mental collapse. Where did his 14.6 ppg from last year go? Oh well. Seems I’ve beaten all the flesh off this horse. It is WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR time. For Coach White, 2019-20 is a make or break season. Only an NCAA invite will save him. And 2020-21 could well be a Final Four appearance for the Gators.
If not, it will be a final farewell for White–in my humble opinion.
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