It’s become an annual rite of April. Easter baskets, afternoon showers and former Florida Gators suiting up in the NBA playoffs.
According to a 24.7.com report, Florida has 10 former players in the NBA playoffs, the most of any school. The Gators lead traditional blueblood basketball programs Duke (9), North Carolina (9), Kentucky (8) and UCLA (7).
I’ve written about it before, and it’s a testament to coach Billy Donovan’s ability to develop players and teach principles that contribute to winning games.
Here’s a look at how the former Gators fared in their playoff debuts this season:
Al Horford, Hawks, c — Had 10 points and 10 rebounds during Atlanta’s 99-92 win over the Brooklyn Nets before leaving the game with a disclocated pinkie. Questionable for Game 2.
Bradley Beal, Wizards, g — Had 16 points and 6 rebounds in Washington’s 93-86 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors, but struggled from the floor, going just 6 of 23.
Joakim Noah, Bulls, c — Had 6 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals in Chicago’s 103-91 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Corey Brewer, Rockets, f — Had 15 points and 1 assist off the bench during Houston’s 118-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Chandler Parsons, Mavericks, f — Had 10 points (on 5 of 15 shooting), 6 rebounds and 2 assists in Dallas’ 118-108 loss to Houston.
Marreese Speights, Warriors, c — Had 0 points in just 1 minute off the bench during Golden State’s 106-99 win over New Orleans.
David Lee, Warriors, f — Did not play during Golden State’s 106-99 win over New Orleans due to a strained lower back.
Mike Miller, Cavaliers, f — Did not play during Cleveland’s 113-100 win over the Boston Celtics (coach’s decision).
Nick Calathes, Grizzlies, g — Had 2 points and 1 steal in 3 minutes off the bench during Memphis’ 100-86 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Matt Bonner, Spurs, f — Had 0 points and 1 rebound in 4 minutes off the bench during San Antonio’s 107-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clipppers.
So to recap, Florida players went 8-2 in their playoff debuts, with one of the losses coming head-to-head when Brewer’s Houston Rockets beat Parsons’ Dallas Mavericks.