It's May 19. The second round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs has just ended.
And we are now assured of a Florida Gators player winning an NBA championship ring this year — the fifth straight season a Gator will do so.
The achievement was made possible by the Houston Rockets' Game 7 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night, and some fortuitous distribution of the NBA-leading 10 Gators on playoff rosters. All eight first-round series featured at least one team with a Gator on it, with only one — the Rockets-Dallas Mavericks series pitting Houston's Corey Brewer against Dallas's Chandler Parsons — setting Gator against Gator, and only one team without a Gator, the Clippers, advancing to the conference semifinals. (Had the San Antonio Spurs upset the Clippers, this article would've been published on May 2.)
Brewer was integral to this distinction because he was integral to Houston's comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. Brewer scored 15 points per game over the Rockets' three-game blitz to stun L.A., and was especially great in the Rockets' staggering Game 6 comeback: He had his first career playoff double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, and hit the game-tying and go-ahead baskets for Houston.
Of course, the road to this distinction was helped by the fact that the teams with Gators on them were largely the higher seeds. The top two seeds in both conferences had Gators on the roster, while the Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and Portland Trail Blazers were the only other top-four seeds to lack Florida products.
It's also amusing that the only NBA playoff team with two Gators — the Golden State Warriors, who had the league's best record in 2014-15 — was the first team through to the conference semifinals, finishing its sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans on April 25, and that the team with a Gator that uses him least, the Cleveland Cavaliers, was the first through to the conference finals.
Brewer began the streak of Florida products winning rings in 2011 with the Mavericks, Miller and Udonis Haslem continued it in 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat, and Bonner won his second ring with Spurs in 2014. If the Cavaliers win it all this season, Miller will tie Haslem for most career rings by a Gator with three; if the Cavaliers or Rockets win a title, either Miller or Brewer would become the first Gator to win NBA titles with multiple teams.
Perhaps the most impressive thing of all, though? Every single Gator on these teams — and every Gator in the NBA, in fact — was recruited, coached, and developed by one head coach.
Billy Donovan may have left Florida for the NBA, but many of his Gators were already there — and, as this postseason makes clear, thriving.