Florida Gators teammate Taurean Green says 36-year-old Al Horford has some years left

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

Taurean Green, Florida basketball's recently hired director of player development, was talking to the media this week and not surprisingly the conversation turned to his former Gators teammate Al Horford.

Horford is playing for the Boston Celtics and in the midst of his first NBA Finals appearance — long overdue for the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Boston has a 2-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors with Game 4 on Friday night. 

Green shared how before he departed the Chicago Bulls to join Todd Golden's staff at UF, he met with Horford. Green was a player-development coordinator on former Florida coach Billy Donovan’s staff in Chicago. 

Green thinks Horford, 36, has no intentions of calling it a career anytime soon. 

“I went to lunch with Al I think a month and a half ago when they were in Chicago,  I asked him, ‘How long do you want to play?’ and he was like ‘I feel good’. So, he might play two or three more years, who knows," Green said Wednesday. 

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A day before his 36th birthday, on June 3, Horford scored 26 points in the Celtics’ victory over Golden State in the first game of the Finals. Horford connected on nine of his 12 field-goal attempts, including a 6-of-8 performance from three-point range. 

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Not as if anyone needed more evidence, but the performance was a sign of Horford’s talent — and how far his game had come since he played alongside Green during their unforgettable run in Gainesville on the back-to-back national championship teams. 

“When he got here, he couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean,” Green said with a smile. “It’s just a testament to his hard work. He put in the work, the game evolved, obviously. Bigs need to be able to shoot now, and he worked on his shot, and now — he’s still Al, but he expanded his game a little bit.”

Florida's 04s remain close

Florida's Al Horford celebrates after the Gators defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in April 2007 for  their second consecutive national basketball title.

That meeting in Chicago may have been the first time Green had seen his former teammate in some time, but Green and Horford remain close to this day. The historic UF recruiting class — nicknamed the "04s" — of Horford, Green, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah still keeps in contact, though it's a bit more traditional than the communication methods of today.

"We don't have a group text," Green said. "We’ll just call each other, just call."

As they've reached their mid-30s, Green said the group have realized the gravity of their accomplishments in Gainesville. Each of the team's national championship-winning seasons hold a special place in Green's mind. 

"As you look back, the older I've gotten, the more I've been able to appreciate it. Because being able to come to this university, being able to accomplish what we accomplished, it's really not easy," Green said. "Everybody always asked what year was more difficult, like which one do you appreciate more. Like, I appreciate both championships, because both were different. We were started unranked, and then junior year we came back and we were ranked, and just, you know, the different obstacles we had to overcome each season, we stayed together."