Florida one-and-d0ne freshman guard Bradley Beal has a chance to make history in Thursday night’s NBA draft.
Most analysts project Beal could get picked anywhere between second and fifth. If Beal gets taken second, he will match Neal Walk as the highest-drafted Gator in school history.
Here’s a look at the 10 Florida first-round picks since the program’s inception, and how their careers ended up:
Neal Walk (second overall pick, 1969, Phoenix Suns) — A 6-foot-11 center, Walk went on to an eight-year NBA career with the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Jazz and New York Knicks. His best season came in 1972-73, when he averaged 20.2 ppg and 12.4 rpg for Suns. A benign tumor in Walk’s spine left him paralyzed from the waist down since 1988. He currently works for the Suns’ community affairs department.
Al Horford (third overall pick, 2007, Atlanta Hawks) — The 6-foot-9 Horford has spent his entire five-year career with the Hawks and is a two-time NBA All-Star. One of the best defensive centers in the league.
Mike Miller (fifth overall pick, 2000, Orlando Magic) — A 12-year NBA veteran who has played for the Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat. Scored 23 points while going 7-for-8 on 3-pointers in Miami’s NBA title-clinching, game five win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last Thursday. Was NBA rookie of the year in 2000-01. The 6-foot-8 forward is contemplating retirement due to back issues.
Corey Brewer (seventh overall pick, 2007, Minnesota Timberwolves) — Has spent five years in the NBA with the Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets. The 6-foot-7 forward has averaged 8.9 points per game in his NBA career while remaining a defensive specialist.
Jason Williams (seventh overall pick, 1998, Sacramento Kings) — “White Chocolate” went on to a 12-year NBA career with the Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. Emerged as one of the league’s flashiest passers at point guard. Won an NBA title ring with the Heat in 2006.
Joakim Noah (ninth overall pick, 2007, Chicago Bulls) — Noah has spent his entire five-year career with the Bulls, improving each season. Now starting at center for the Bulls. The 6-foot-11 Noah has averaged 8.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in his NBA career.
Marreese Speights (16th overall pick, 2008, Philadelphia 76ers) — The 6-foot-10 center has averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in four NBA seasons with the 76ers and Memphis Grizzlies.
Donnell Harvey (22nd overall pick, 2000, New York Knicks) — Before Beal, Harvey was Florida’s last one-and-done player. The 6-foot-8 forward played parts of five NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets before embarking on a career overseas. Harvey played this past season in the Philippines.
Dwayne Schintzius (24th overall pick, 1990, San Antonio Spurs) —The 7-foot-2 center played nine seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, Sacramento Kings, New Jersey Nets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics, never finding a true home. Sadly, Schintzius died of complications due to leukemia last April 15 at 43.
David Lee (30th overall pick, 2005, New York Knicks) — The 6-foot-9 Lee has averaged 14.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in seven NBA seasons at power forward/center with the Knicks and Golden State Warriors.