Gators basketball honored on SI All-Decade lists

By Adam Silverstein
December 16, 2009

Sports Illustrated came out with a number of college basketball All-Decade lists on Wednesday, and Florida Gators players earned their way toward a few notable distinctions. On the main list, where SI went over the “highlights and lowlights of the decade,” Florida’s “Oh-Fours” were named the 2000s’ best recruiting class. An obvious choice.

“When Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green all signed with Florida, nobody heralded this quartet as the Fab anything,” Seth Davis writes. “Yet, by the end of their junior year, they had led the Gators to back-to-back national championships. All except Green had the opportunity to be first-round draft picks as sophomores, but they came back for the chance to make history — and that’s exactly what they did. They were known as the Oh-Fours.”

Noah’s name was also mentioned on two other SI lists, as a reserve forward for SI’s All-Decade Team and at No. 1 in the “10 signature college basketball moments of the decade.” Of Noah’s entry on the All-Decade Team, Grant Wahl writes, “The most memorable team acts of the decade were Illinois in 2004-05 and Florida in 2005-07, and their all-time chemistry explains why so few of their individuals are making this All-Decade list. But if you’re going to pick one guy from these teams, you have to pick Noah, who could do so many things on the court and took over the 2006 NCAA final.”

As for the second distinction, SI recounts Noah’s now-famous dancing celebration after winning the 2006 SEC Championship. “Noah’s spastic, post-SEC tournament celebration on Selection Sunday did not go down in the annals of dance, but it did capture the essence of the star of Florida’s dynasty. Noah, the son of a French tennis and pop star, was brash and widely reviled by opposing fans — yet he was an unselfish player who admirably passed on the NBA draft as a sophomore, and backed up his antics by winning back-to-back national titles. After a shocked Verne Lundquist ceded the CBS stage by saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Joakim Noah,’ Bill Raftery asked Noah a question about seeding. The Gators, who’d slipped a bit down the stretch in ’06-07, were likely to enter their title defense as a No. 2 seed. Noah’s response? ‘Who cares! At the end of the day, it’s yours against mine — we’ll see who gets it!’ For two straight NCAA tournaments, the Gators got it.” They sure did.

5 Comments

  1. Matt Burris says:

    It’s videos like that that constantly remind us why it’s great to be a Florida Gator. That was an awesome night, and Noah was definitely feeling the magic of the moment.

  2. GatorFan says:

    Hey Adam – I thought you were going to do something special for the 1,000th commentor?

  3. I did. Have been waiting for an e-mail back from him for about a week now.

  4. GatorFan says:

    Oh I see, I was just curious.

  5. No problem. Mr2Bits was the winner…now if he’ll e-mail me back…

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