A season of Firsts: 2002-03 Men's Hoops Review

The University of Florida has achieved unparalleled success in its men's basketball history over the past seven years. A program that had experienced pockets of success for its first 77 seasons has become one of the most consistent programs in the nation and a model for other programs to build upon. The 2002-03 season was another step in that process.

Final Record: 25-8

SEC Record: 12-4, 2nd place SEC East

NCAA Tournament: Second Round

  • The Gators set a school record with 24 regular season wins, surpassing the previous mark of 23 set by the 1993-94 and 1999-00 squads.
  • The 25 wins by the 2002-03 Gators is the third highest total in school history, trailing only the 1993-94 and 1999-00 squads.
  • Florida reached No. 1 in both the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls for the first time in school history on Feb. 3. The Gators have been ranked a school-record 80 consecutive weeks in the coaches' poll and have been ranked 77 straight weeks in the AP Poll, the second longest active streak in the nation.
  • For the fourth consecutive year the Gators were ranked wire-to-wire, spending 14 of 19 weeks in the top 10. The Gators finished ranked in the Top 10 in the AP Poll for only the second time in school history.
  • The Gators matched a school record with a 14-game winning streak during the season, a stretch that saw Florida go undefeated for a stretch of 62 days. The Gators went 7-0 against the SEC, 2-0 against the ACC and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and 1-0 against the Big East, Conference USA, and Big South during the stretch. Of a possible 2,850 minutes, the Gators trailed by only 133 minutes 54 seconds during the 14-game winning streak.
  • Florida set a school record for consecutive home wins with 19 straight victories at the O'Dome between Feb. 2, 2002 and March 8, 2003.
  • The Gators set a record for non-conference wins on the season with 13 overall, 12 during the regular season.
  • After going just 2-7 in games decided by five points or less in 2001-02, the Gators won seven games decided by seven points or less in 2002-03.
  • Florida finished the season with five victories over ranked teams and has 17 of its last 25 games overall against ranked opponents.
  • The Gators lost fewer than 10 games for the fifth straight year. Florida, Duke and Gonzaga are the only teams to lose fewer than 10 games each of the past five seasons.
  • Included among the Gators' 25 wins were victories over half of the 2001-02 Final Four field, as the Gators picked up wins over Kansas and Maryland, both away from Gainesville. The victory over Maryland ended the Terps' 87-game home winning streak against non-conference competition, a streak that dated back to 1989.
  • The Gators hit 287 three-pointers to lead the SEC, falling just two shy of the school record mark of 289 set by the 1989-99 squad.
  • Florida also led the SEC in three-point accuracy, hitting .390 from beyond the arc for the season, as three of the five Gator starters hit better than 40.0 percent from three-point range.
  • Three of the five Gator starters hit better than 50.0 percent from the floor, led by David Lee's team-high 64.8 percent.
  • An unselfish team, the 2002-03 Gators dished out 542 assists, the fourth highest total in school history and the second highest total by a Billy Donovan coached team. The Gators dished out 10 or more assists 10 times during the season, including a season-high 32 against Eastern Illinois in the second round of the Preseason NIT.
  • The senior trio of Matt Bonner, Brett Nelson and Justin Hamilton finished with a career record 100-32, the first four-year class to reach 100 career wins. The trio combined for 3,743 points.
  • Matt Bonner earned First Team All-SEC honors from both the league coaches and the Associated Press, while winning the Verizon Academic All-American of the Year honor for the sport of men's basketball for the second consecutive year. Bonner earned First Team Academic All-America honors for the third consecutive year.
  • On the court, Bonner ended his career with 1,570 points, the eighth highest total in school history.
  • Brett Nelson leaves UF as the school's all-time leader in three-point field goals made with 274.
  • Anthony Roberson was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by both the league coaches and Associated Press, while both he and Matt Walsh were unanimous selections for the SEC All-Freshman squad. Roberson was the first Gator to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors since Andrew Moten in 1984 and only the third Gator ever to win the award.
  • Florida was the only school to have three different players earn SEC Player of the Week honors, as Matt Walsh won the honor on Nov. 25, Anthony Roberson claimed the honor on Jan. 13 and Matt Bonner was recognized on March 10.

Team Records Set In 2002-03

  1. Regular season wins (24)
  2. Consecutive NCAA appearances (5)
  3. Consecutive 20-win seasons (5)
  4. Consecutive wins (14 -tied previous mark)
  5. Highest overall ranking - No. 1 (both coaches and AP polls, Feb. 3, 2003)
  6. Non-conference victories, regular season (12)
  7. Non-conference victories overall (13)
  8. Consecutive games with a three-pointer (366 - active)

Arena Records Set in 2002-03

  1. Cumulative season attendance (167,827)
  2. Single game attendance (12,581 vs. Kentucky, 3/8/03)
  3. Consecutive wins (19)

Individual Honors In 2002-03

Matt Bonner

Verizon Academic All-American of the Year for men's basketball (second straight year)

Verizon First Team Academic All-America (third straight year)

Verizon Academic All-District III Team (third straight year)

SEC Academic Honor Roll

First Team All-SEC (Coaches and AP)

USBWA All-District IV

Anthony Roberson

SEC Freshman of the Year (Coaches and AP)

SEC All-Freshman Team

College Insider.com All-Freshman Team

SEC Player of the Week (1/13/03)

Matt Walsh

SEC All-Freshman Team

SEC Player of the Week (11/25/03)

Justin Hamilton

College Insider.com All-Defensive Team

SI.com All-Glue Team

David Lee

SEC Academic Honor Roll

Seth Haimovitch

SEC Academic Honor Roll

Over The Past Seven Years…

The University of Florida has achieved unparalleled success in men's basketball over the past seven years. A program that had experienced pockets of success has become one of the most consistent programs in the nation and a model for other programs to build upon.

Since the 1996-97 season, the Gators have….

  • Won 149 games, or 21.3 wins per season. The Gators won just 12 games in 1995-96
  • The Gators have posted five consecutive 20 win seasons - the program had only five 20-win seasons in the 77-year history of the program before this coaching staff arrived.
  • Five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The University of Florida made only five NCAA Tournaments as a University prior to the arrival of this coaching staff.
  • Nine NCAA Tournament wins- the program had only seven wins prior to the arrival of this coaching staff.
  • A Final Four and the school's first appearance in the National Championship game.
  • Two Southeastern Conference Championships. Florida basketball had only one in its history.
  • Three SEC Eastern Division titles after having only one in school history.
  • 13 of the 15 seniors that have played for Florida since the 1996-97 season have graduated, while of the three seniors from the 2002-03 squad, two will graduate in May and the final senior will graduate in August, continuing the Gators' commitment to academics and athletics.
  • The Gators have had 29 SEC Academic Honor Roll members during the past seven years, the most in the Southeastern Conference during that stretch, more than 10 ahead of the next closest school.
  • Matt Bonner was a two-time recipient of the Verizon Academic All-American of the Year award for the sport of basketball, while earning First Team Academic All-American honors three times.
  • Since the 1996-97 season, the Gators have had six 1,000-point scorers, including two players among the top 10 on the school's all-time scoring list.
  • A total of nine All-American honors have been bestowed upon Florida players over the past seven seasons, while 15 All-SEC honors have been designated. In addition, the Gators had the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2003, the first time in nearly 20 years a Florida athlete earned the honor, while for the second time in three years, they had the runner-up for the SEC Player of the Year.
  • The Gators reached No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches' polls for the first time in school history in 2003. For the fourth consecutive year, the Gators were ranked wire-to-wire and they have been ranked for 80 straight weeks in the coaches' poll and 77 straight weeks in the AP poll, the second longest active streaks in the nation behind Duke.
  • The program has signed eight McDonald's All-Americans.
  • Three players have gone on to become NBA First Round Draft picks.

Fightin Gators Top Stories