RELATEDThe Sneakers Worn for the 15 Best Performances in Duke Basketball History
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No. 15 – The Vernon Maxwell Era

The Player: Vernon Maxwell
The Sneaker: Converse Weapon
The Date: March 1987

What many may not know is that the first time the Florida Gators made the NCAA tournament was under the leadership of the one and only Mad Max, Vernon Maxwell. The eccentric personality guided the Gators to the tourney in 1987, and the Gainesville native would end up playing 13 years in the NBA, winning an NBA championship with the Houston Rockets in 1994 in the process.

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No. 14 – The Highlight Reel That Was Jason Williams 

The Player: Jason Williams
The Sneaker: Nike Zoom Hyperflight
The Date: Spring 1997

Jason Williams might've only played 20 games in Gainesville, but the man who would eventually scribe "WHIT EBOY" on his knuckles would become one of the biggest sensations in college basketball. Behind the back dribbles, behind the back passes, behind the back whatchamacallits, it didn't matter....Whit Eboy did his thing in Florida and , and he's still beloved to his day.

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No. 13 – Florida Hires Billy Donovan

The Player: Udonis Haslem
The Sneaker: Nike Air KG III
The Date: Fall 1997

There hadn't been a lot of success in Florida basketball history prior to 1987, and only Gators' head coach Lon Kruger had been able to have some success in Gainesville. Kruger would eventually take a head coaching position with the Illinois Fighting Illini, and the Gators would turn to emerging Marshall coach Billy Donovan to lead the way. With players like Udonis Haslem coming from in-state to support the Gators, the turnaround would soon begin.

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No. 12 – Billy Donovan's Eye For Talent

The Player: Donnell Harvey
The Sneaker: Nike Air Flight Determination
The Date: Spring 1998

Once Billy Donovan arrived at Gainesville, his ability to bring NBA-caliber talent to the Gators became quickly apparent. Players like Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Matt Bonner and Donnell Harvey would make Gainesville an appealing option to prospects, and the winning ways would continue at UF.

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No. 11 – The Red Mamba Emerges

The Player: Matt Bonner
The Sneaker: Nike Air Flightposite III
The Date: Fall 2003

Matt Bonner has red hair. Matt Bonner is also an exceptional shooter. Therefore, Matt Bonner has received plenty of nicknames in his life. Ginger Bomber. Red Rocket. Red Mamba. They're all awesome, and I'd totally call him all three all of the time and totally ignore what his real name is. Why? Because nicknames are awesome.

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No. 10 – Florida Makes Nine Consecutive Trips To The NCAA Tournament

The Player: David Lee
The Sneaker: Nike Huarache 2K4
The Date: Spring 2004

Billy Donovan's teams kept right on rolling into the 2000's, as the streak of NCAA appearances would reach 9 in a row as players like David Lee came in and fortified the Gators succession to elite status.

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No. 9 – James White And David Lee Square Off In A Dunk Contest

The Player: James "Flight" White
The Sneaker: Reebok To Go
The Date: Spring 2001

James White is easily one of the greatest slam dunk contest dunkers of all-time, even with his blunders in the most recent 2013 edition. However, many don't realize that White and David Lee both committed to Florida in 2001, and they were members of the 2001 McDonald's All-American game. Then a slam dunk contest broke out, and an unlikely contestant won. David Lee.

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No. 8 – Bradley Beal Leads Florida To The Elite Eight In 2012

The Player: Bradley Beal
The Sneaker: Nike Zoom KD III
The Date: Spring 2012

There have been fewer more high profile players in Florida history than Bradley Beal. The St. Louis product who was compared to Ray Allen out of high school, would only complete one season at UF. However, in that time he helped lead the Gators to another Elite Eight run in 2012.

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No. 7 – The Chandler Parsons Becomes The First Gator To Win SEC Player Of The Year

The Player: Chandler Parsons
The Sneaker: Nike Hyperfuse
The Date: Spring 2011

The pretty boy from Casselberry would go on to do something in Gainesville that no Gator would ever accomplish in 2011, as the wing player would take home the coveted SEC player of the year award in his senior season. Parsons would also lead the Gators to another Elite Eight appearance as well.

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No. 6 – The Gators Start The 2005-06 Season 17-0

The Player: Corey Brewer
The Sneaker: Nike Shox Ups
The Date: Fall 2005

The 2005 NBA Draft class for the Gators consisted of future pros David Lee, Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson, and many pegged UF to fall back the following season. Yet, players like Corey Brewer had different ideas, and the Gators came out like firecrackers at the beginning of the season, winning 17 straight.

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No. 5 – Mike Miller's Buzzer Beater Vs. Butler

The Player: Teddy Dupay
The Sneaker: Nike Air KG III
The Date: March 29, 2000

For the last decade or so, the work that Lon Kruger and Billy Donovan put in making the Florida Gators a respectable program had been admirable. However, the Gators needed an opportunity to really shine on the national stage, and Mike Miller's leaner vs. Butler in the regional final would be such a moment. Miller would make the shot, and the Gators would rush the floor, including Teddy Dupay who lost his mind in the celebration.

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No. 4 – Florida Makes Their First Trip To The National Championship

The Player: Mike Miller
The Sneaker: Nike Air KG III
The Date: April 3, 2000

Unfortunately, Miller's heroics would not be enough to bring the Gators their first national championship, as they met up with the FlintStones in the final and would lose 89-76.

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No. 3 – Andrew DeClercq Takes Florida To Their First Final Four

The Player: Andrew DeClercq
The Sneaker: Reebok Pump Shaq Attack
The Date: April 2, 1994

The one moment from Lon Kruger's career that deserves heaps of praise is the job he did in 1994, when a rag-tag group of players came together to unify and knockout title hopefuls. Led by All-SEC big man Andrew Declercq, the Gators reached their first Final Four in school history, and just missed out on a title shot as they lost to Duke by 5.

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No. 2 – Florida Wins Their First National Championship

The Player: Joakim Noah
The Sneaker: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars
The Date: April 3, 2006

The Florida Gators were in unmarked territory in 2006, as the relative upstart basketball program were squared off against the ultimate blue blood of college basketball in the UCLA Bruins. Fortunately for Florida, they had the ultimate renegade on their squad in Joakim Noah. Noah would be named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and would lead Billy Donovan's club to their first NCAA championship.

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No. 1 – The Gators Go Back-To-Back With The Same Starting Five

The Player: Corey Brewer
The Sneaker: Nike Air Penny 1
The Date: April 2, 2007

In a year where the Florida Gators were led by God's favorite quarterback to a national title, it seemed fitting that the blessings would spill over to the basketball team yet again. Noah, Horford, Brewer and the rest of the Gator squad were too much for the Greg Oden-led Ohio State Buckeyes, and title #2 came right on back to Gainesville.

RELATEDThe Sneakers Worn for the 15 Best Performances in Duke Basketball History
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