Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer talks his one week in 2011 with the New York Knicks (2:05), MIke D'Antoni's effect on James Harden (3:59), a breakdown of where the mid-2000s Gators are now (5:53) and his current outlook on Florida basketball.
Ten years ago, Corey Brewer stood atop the college basketball world. As a junior, he won the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award, as Florida capped off its second consecutive national championship.
Brewer is the only member of that legendary starting five also to win an NBA title. (Marreese Speights was a freshman bench player on the second NCAA championship team, playing six minutes in the national title game against Ohio State). On Super Bowl Radio Row, the current Houston Rocket talked with ThePostGame about where his former Gators teammates are now, that time he sat on Mike D'Antoni's bench with the Knicks and what it would be like to play for Billy Donovan. Here are some of the highlights from ThePostGame Podcast:
THEPOSTGAME: I grew up a Knicks fan. I was at the first game after Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Knicks. You warmed up and didn't play. I always said if I ever sat down with Corey Brewer, I'd ask what happened in [that week].
COREY BREWER: It was interesting, man. When I got traded there, I thought I was gonna have a chance to play. Coach D'Antoni didn't really know me. The Knicks were in love with Landry Fields at the time. I think they played Renaldo Balkman over me -- him and Anthony Carter. It kind of made me mad. I'm like, I'm not gonna be able to sit behind these guys. I wanted to go somewhere I would have a chance to play. I was able to get a buyout. It worked out perfect for me. I was able to go to Dallas. But I like New York. I didn't want to leave.
TPG: Do you know if Coach D'Antoni even remembers that?
BREWER: I give him a hard time a little bit.
BREWER: (Laughs) He says I didn't give him an opportunity to play me.
TPG: When Coach D'Antoni came in, what was the vibe in the offseason?
BREWER: It was positive. Coming off of last year, there was a little negativity around here after firing Coach [Kevin] McHale. But when Coach D'Antoni came in, everything was positive. He's a player's coach and everything's been working out.
TPG: What do you think he's done for James' game, especially?
BREWER: I think he's put him in the right situation. James has the ball in his hands all the time, so you make him the point guard and let him control everything. It's his team anyways. Let him do his thing and he's doing it at a high level.
TPG: It's almost like the opposite of [Allen] Iverson, Iverson going from point guard to shooting guard and you're saying [James] has to get the ball in his hand. And now he's passing. Did that surprise you guys?
BREWER: We always knew he could pass, but I feel like, last year, he worked so hard to get the ball, it felt like he had to score, but now he has the ball, so he can just do what he wants to do. He can get everyone else involved, and if he wants to score, he can score.
TPG: When you go play the Thunder, what do you say to Billy?
BREWER: I don't say too much. I give him a hard time, tell him we'll go kick his butt.
TPG: Obviously you're happy in Houston, but would that be something you're interested in the future, playing for your old college coach in the pros?
BREWER: If it happens, it happens. I would love to. Coach Donovan's a great coach. I had some of my best games with him, so I would love to play with him, but you never know what's gonna happen.
TPG: Joakim and Al were both free agents this year, there was talk maybe they would join up. Have you guys ever, not this year, but ever, even just joked about, hey, wouldn't it be fun if we all played together?
BREWER: When we first got in the league, we used to joke all the time. One day, we need to get together, man. I think we'd be good. But now it's been ten years and I don't think it's gonna happen. They just signed like four- or five-year deals.
TPG: For Gator fans listening out there, I think they want to ask, where are Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey?
BREWER: Lee Humphrey is actually in Jacksonville. He has a good job there. He lives in Jacksonville. And Taurean is overseas still playing.
TPG: He was a second-round pick.
BREWER: He played in the NBA for a couple years. He went overseas and he's bounced around eight years or so, been in Turkey, Spain, France.
TPG: What about Walter Hodge?
BREWER: Walter's still playing too. Last time I talked to Walter, he was in Russia playing.
TPG: Chris Richard was on that team too. He was drafted.
BREWER: Yeah, he was with me in Minnesota. Chris is coaching in Lakeland. He does a lot of stuff with kids in Lakeland, Florida, now.
TPG: We're about 10 years out from that team. Can you take a step in Gainesville without being bombarded by people?
BREWER: I can take a step. It's fun to go back there. Everybody still remembers, which is good. When you win a championship, people aren't gonna forget that.
TPG: Do you ever see those guys you beat in Final Fours, like Mike Conley, and talk trash from your college days?
BREWER: Oh yeah. I'll mess with Mike a little bit. It's funny. Arron Afflalo, we just beat him last night. We beat them in two Final Fours. It's fun to see those guys. It's fun to see we're all still in the NBA, which is good.