Sunday, January 20, 2008

GatorKGB's Gator Overachievers

This morning's award goes to Al Horford. While I realize that Senor Horford is already legendary in Gator sports lore, this award is not limited to those heretofore unknown or to those helping the less fortunate.
I could not help but notice Horford prominently cheering at last evening's Hoops contest against Kentucky.

What's the big deal?

Let's forget that Horford gave us an extra year when he was already projected as a lottery pick. Let's forget that he was always a quality citizen and hard worker, constantly improving his game while at UF. Let's forget his Gator loyalty when he crossed the dais to meet David Stern while doing The Chomp. And let's ignore his Rookie of the Year caliber play, averaging 8.7 ppg (48.1%), 9.7 rpg (3 off.) and 1.1 blpg, thus far.

Let's look at the context. This is a "down" year for the Hoops team (performing amazingly well, in my opinion, given their collective inexperience) playing a sub-standard Kentucky team.

This kid played in Toronto on Friday night. Probably did not get home until 3-4 a.m., got to Gainesville and will have to return sometime today as he plays on monday at 2 p.m. I think it bears pointing out that he's 6'10," and the flights between G'ville and Atlanta do not have business or 1st class. I'm 6'3", 180 and can't fit into coach comfortably, I can't imagine being 6'10", 245. The rental fees of a King Air or small Lear would total between $8k-$10k, quite a cost to absorb for no personal benefit.

Why inconvenience yourself? To help the football recuiting weekend and to watch the Gators win their 7th straight over Kentucky, the significance of which Mergz plans on explaining later.

How did he benefit? He did not. This was all about helping his school and supporting his former teammates.

How many times do we see pro caliber athletes, including many who attended Florida, depart without having developed a lifelong attachment or incorporating their collegiate experience into the fabric of their identities? I suppose this has to do with college sports having become a minor league for hoops and football, a sub-minor league for baseball and the common view of an exceptional athlete that college is a near-term stepping stone to a professional career.

Clearly, in Horford's chest beats a Gator heart.



CBGator said...

I believe Bilas said Horford drove down to the game from Atlanta since all the flights were cancelled.

Jason said...

Yep, he drove down for the game, which is about a 300 mile/5 hour trip to make.

Gator Boys said...

Winning 2 national championships and being part of the 04's probably helps create a Gator heart

mlmintampa said...

The kid also drove down during one of the worst storms in Southeast history.

Gator KGB said...

from where i watched the first half and part of the second i couldn't hear the call.

5 hr. drive each way and he may have practice or team meetings today.

I'm sure that's true regarding the success. But isn't that a little bit chicken and egg? Part of ours, and his, success derives from his work ethic. If memory serves correctly, he was the 7th ranked PF/C out of HS and has passed everyone before him except for Dwight Howard.

Since he forewent the NBA for a year, which will ultimately cost him 1 prime year of play after his rookie contract, I am coming down on the side of Al's just a good guy.

Generally, I am a bit on the cynical evidenced by the developing Bowl System/BCS/MNC analysis and debate.

JJ Gator said...

In spite of the crappy weather in Atlanta, Al Horford made the trip down to Gainesville - that's dedication if you ask me!

Nice to see him hanging out with Tim Tebow and cheering on our young "diaper dandies"; also, it's nice to see former Gators in this sport coming home to Gainesville just as Urban Meyer has made our Gator football alumni welcome - and I'd like to see many more drop in for a visit. As Jon Bon Jovi says, "Who says you can't come home"?


DolFan 316 said...

Feh. I think we all know the *real* reason he came back, and it had nothing to do with anyone of the male gender :-)