Greatest Numbers in Gator Hoops History

As promised after looking at the most memorable numbers in school history on the gridiron we switch over to the hardwood to examine numbers than mean a great deal to the University of Florida.

As I stated last time, I left uniform numbers out, but did include scores, because I think when push comes to shove, the score(s) measure accomplishment while the uniform number represents the individual who wore it. There are always lists of the greatest this or that player-wise, so I chose numbers that would transcend individuals. Instead this list is designed to highlight accomplishments and moments, those that have or will stand the test of time.

  • 1,181 Rebounds for Neal Walk ----- The standard today is a double-double, meaning ten rebounds a game is considered outstanding. Well, Neal Walk set the school record for career rebounds in just 77 game which is more than 50 fewer than the school mark. In three seasons in Orange and Blue, the most prolific Gator ever averages 15.3 rebounds a night. That's a mark only one other Gator ever topped in a single season.
  • 272 Blocked shots by Dwayne Schintzius ----- When the seven-footer from Brandon enrolled at UF the school record for career blocks was 150 by Eugene McDowell. Eugene "the dunking machine" also had the season mark of 48. Schintzius shattered one mark with 90 blocks as a freshman and broke both when he swatted away 96 more his second season. Teams challenged the big guy far less frequently his junior year, but he still blocked another 58. Joakim Noah and Al Horford need two more productive seasons in order to challenge this mark.
  • 54 Points for Tony Miller against Chicago State ----- The sharp shooting guard set the school record in February of 1972, and that mark still stands today. Miller knocked down 21 of 38 from the field (.553) in leading the Gators to a 102-69 win. Miller went on to the second-best scoring average in UF history, averaging 26.7 for the campaign. No Gator has topped 40 in a game since.
  • 2,491 Points for Vernon Maxwell ----- When the NCAA determined Mad Max had accepted money from a would-be agent during his final two years at UF, the NCAA ordered Florida to delete Maxwell's stats from NCAA Tournament action those years. Then Athletic Director Bill Arnsparger went way beyond that directive, purging Maxwell's entire junior and senior seasons. The official record book says Maxwell played two seasons and scored 1,046 points. But Maxwell averaged 21.7 as a junior and 20.2 as a senior. It's doubtful the official record will ever be corrected, but I believe that I saw what I saw. I have also always believed that what happens, happened. So the 1984 Gators ARE the SEC Football Champs, as is the 1992 Alabama Football team.
  • 6 First Round NBA draft picks ----- That number is going up in the coming years, but it is a significant recognition of Florida's contributions to the next level. Neal Walk was the first followed by Schintzius. The last four all have come in the Donovan era. Jason Williams ('98), Mike Miller ('00), Donnell Harvey ('00) and David Lee ('05) all heard their names called in round one. Draft status doesn't mean everything, though…. Nobody called for Udonis Haslem.
  • 15 – 10 – 13 For Corey Brewer ----- "Spiderman" becomes the first Gator to accomplish a triple-double as he finally gets his tenth rebound in the closing moments of a 101-58 win over Jacksonville. Not only is a triple-double an incredible accomplishment, but the way he got it was a hoot. Everyone knew he had a chance and in the end his teammates blocked out everyone in sight while Corey got a one-bounce rebound in the lane. That his teammates enjoyed it more than he did just gave us another glimpse into the selfless attitude that was to energize this season.
  • 1989 SEC Championship is won ----- From 1933 through 1988 the Gator Basketball Program managed a grand total of four second-place finishes while never winning the conference title. After runner up finishes in '87 and '88 hopes were high for '89, but the team was up and down early in the year, dropping its SEC opener at Ole Miss to fall to 6-And-7. An incident at Georgia resulted in the dismissal of Jose Ramos and promotion of Clifford Lett into the starting lineup. The rest, as they say is history. The spontaneous welcome home at the airport after the SEC Title clincher at Baton Rouge was one of the coolest mob scenes ever.
  • 33 Wins in 2006 ----- I was torn between the 17-and-0 start and the 9-and-0 finish, but decided instead to go with the final result. In 86 previous seasons no Gator team had ever won 30 games. This team reached that standard in hard-fought fashion, outlasting Georgetown before racing to three blowout wins and the NCAA Title. 33 is such a great basketball number, too.
  • 8 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids ----- They said it couldn't be done. Consistent success at the highest level was not something for the University of Florida in basketball. Not when you have losing records against seven of your eleven conference rivals. Oh sure, the Gators can have some success, but year in and year out it wasn't going to happen. "They" never convinced Billy Donovan. This year marked the eighth straight 20-win season and NCAA bid and there appears to be no end in sight.
  • 73 - To - 57 ----- The number may not resonate like 52-to-20, but it comes pretty darn close. The dominance of UCLA was not only the greatest win in school history. It was also one of the most complete performances in the title game in many years. The defense was exceptional, holding the Bruins to just 22-for-61 from the field, including 3-for-17 from long range. Corey Brewer had three steals and completely bumfuzzeled Aaron Afflalo throughout the contest. Noah had six of Florida's ten blocked shots. Adrian Moss provided a huge first half lift off the bench and Taurean Green had the greatest game anyone shooting 1-for-9 has ever had.

So those are my numbers for Gator hoops. As always feedback in the form of agreement or dissent is welcome.

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