My Sportsman: Florida's Oh-Fours
The question had to be asked. It was late on the Thursday night before the Final Four in Atlanta, and Florida coach
It seemed like a good time to put things in perspective.
"Do you ever wonder," I asked Donovan, "if this is a once-in-a-lifetime group?"
The expression on the coach's face was a fascinating blend of pride, wonder and a slowly dawning nostalgia. How many coaches devote their entire careers to searching for that perfect combination of players and personalities? How many find it even once?
"I hope not," Donovan replied. "Because this is what coaching should be like all the time. I have the joy and the hope that this could possibly happen again with these types of kids."
They called themselves the Oh-Fours. They were the four freshmen who arrived in Gainesville during the summer of 2004, and it's revealing that they clung to that handle even as they won national crowns in '06 and '07. Consciously or not, the nickname reminded the Oh-Fours of a time when they were just four roommates, largely unknown -- only one, Brewer, was a high-school All-America -- and blessed with a hunger for collective greatness.
That they achieved it, with sharpshooting senior guard
Every season, it seems, college basketball becomes more obsessively focused on individuals, not least because the NBA age-minimum rule now brings transcendent talent to campuses for one year (and one year only). The story of the 2006-07 regular season was
"I'd like for this team to be remembered as the greatest
For their wondrous chemistry, for their once-in-a-generation success, for their emphasis on classic team spirit over individual ego, the Florida Oh-Fours are the obvious choice as 2007 Sportsmen of the Year.