Friday, May 8, 2015

Top 3 Gator Power Forwards

I have now moved on to the power forward position in my Top 3 Gator basketball article series and this one proves to be very intriguing as every name on this list is currently playing in the NBA. In fact, nearly all of them are playing in the NBA playoffs as I write this! Without further adieu, let's get into it. Here are my Top 3 Gator power forwards of all-time!

#3 Udonis Haslem (1998-2001)
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Udonis Haslem spent all four years at Florida and (along with future NBA teammate Mike Miller) led the Gators to a National Championship appearance in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. He accumulated a stat line of 120 blocks, 107 steals, 831 rebounds, and 1781 total points while shooting 58% from the field and 67% from the free throw line.

Haslem was honored his senior year as he was named a second-team NABC All-American in 2002. Florida would honor him 10 years later when the Gators inducted him into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. After graduation, Haslem went undrafted in the 2002 NBA Draft. He played a year abroad in France before signing with the Miami Heat in 2003.

It was in Miami where Haslem would find immortality as he won three NBA championships in 2006, 2012, and 2013. He was able to reunite with Mike Miller and win two championships with his former college teammate after Miller signed with the Heat in 2010. As of now Haslem is still with the Miami Heat, and will most likely have his #40 retired as well as be enshrined in the team's hall of fame.

In addition to winning three NBA titles, Udonis Haslem was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2004 and is the Miami Heat's all-time leading rebounder.

#2 Marreese Speights (2006-2007)
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Marreese Speights was a member of the Gator's second National Championship team as he backed up both Al Horford and Joakim Noah. In his two-year Gator career, Speights shot 63% from the field and 69% from the free throw line while amassing 64 blocks, 23 steals, 376 rebounds, and 656 total points.

After his sophomore year, Speights declared for the 2008 NBA Draft. He would be selected 16th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. After four years in Philly, Speights would briefly play for the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers before finding a home with the Golden State Warriors. He just recently posted a career-high in points per game as he averaged 10.4 in the 2014-2015 regular season. He also shot a career-high 84% from the free throw line in this same season.

Currently, Speights and the Warriors are taking on the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Semifinals. The series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 set for tomorrow in Memphis.

#1 Al Horford (2004-2006)
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Taking the top spot on my list is Al Horford. In addition to helping the Gators win back-to-back National Championships, Horford's accolades include:
  • Second-team NABC All-American in 2007
  • Third-team AP All-American in 2007
  • SEC Tournament MVP in 2007
  • Three SEC Tournament Championships in 2005, 2006, and 2007
  • One Regular Season SEC Championship in the 2006-2007 season
Horford posted solid numbers in his three years in Orange and Blue as he shot 59% from the field and 62% from the free throw line. He also recorded 189 blocks, 94 steals, 864 rebounds, and 1123 total points.

After winning a second straight National Championship, Horford declared for the 2007 NBA Draft and was selected third overall by the Atlanta Hawks. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2008 and has been named to three All-Star Games in his career. In 2011, he won the NBA Shooting Stars competition during All Star weekend and was name to the All-NBA Third Team.

Currently, Horford is still with the Hawks and has helped them obtain a #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They are tied 1-1 with the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with Game 3 set for tomorrow in Washington.

Honorable Mention: 
David Lee (2001-2004)

I hope you enjoyed this Top 3 article! I am coming to the end in this series as I have just the center position left to write about. Stay tuned as I should be putting this article out very soon as well!

*All stats accredited to &, & of course "The Source"

*All photos accredited to,, &

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