The Florida Gators can make history Sunday by becoming the first SEC team in history to beat Kentucky six straight times. That speaks volumes about how phenomenal the Wildcats program has been through the years. It also adds another story line to the final game of the season in the O’Connell Center.
Of course the most significant story line of all is the annual senior day salute to two veteran players who are suiting up for their final day in front of the Rowdy Reptiles and rest of the fans in the O’Dome. Along with walk on Brett Swanson, Chris Richard and Lee Humphrey will end their home careers in the game with Kentucky. It will be the end of two important Gator careers.
Humphrey and Richard have been a part of the greatest four year run in Florida history. The Gators have won 102 games since Richard and Humphrey arrived on campus while losing just 30 times. In the O’Dome the record stands at 57-and-9 including a school record 17-and-0 this year. They are forever etched in the hearts and minds of all Gator fans for their integral role on the 2006 National Championship team and recently added another special moment when they cut down the nets to celebrate an SEC Championship.
Billy Donovan Talks about Senior Day
“It’s always hard for me because you have a couple of guys in Lee and Chris that have won a lot of basketball games and been part of a lot of success here. They both have been really good kids, they’ve been model citizens – knock on wood – they’ve been two guys who have gone to school, they’ve done the right things, they’ve handled themselves the right way and they haven’t been in trouble.”
“They’re going to graduate. They helped our team win. I hope that as much as I enjoyed coaching them I hope that it was just as same an experience for them here at Florida. They both have gotten better and maybe sort of never imagined that some of the things that have happened to them in the last two years would have ever happened in their life. So it’s hard to believe their four years are done.”
Lee Humphrey, Over-Achiever
When he arrived from Maryville, Tennessee Lee Humphrey was a spot up shooter and that’s it. He had a great long-range stroke but seemed to be targeted for a career as a “designated shooter”. But Humphrey had bigger goals and after two years of playing about 15 minutes a game off the bench he stepped up to the challenge of providing much-needed outside shooting for last year’s champions.
His 253 made three-point shots is third best in Florida history and 21 shy of matching the record held by Brett Nelson. His 113 made “3s” last year broke Florida’s single season mark by 14 and will be very tough to top. He is now 35 points shy of joining the 1,000 point club in his Gator career.
Chris Richard, Stalwart off the Bench
He was Mr. Basketball at Lakeland Kathleen High School, but he has mostly been an invaluable sub for the Orange and Blue. Chris Richard will set a Florida record on Sunday when he plays in his 132nd game. The first 111 of those were off the bench before he started for the first and only four times of his career during Al Horford’s absence.
Richard will leave Florida with modest totals, 622 points and 398 rebounds as of today. Is he had enough field goal attempts to qualify his .658 shooting percentage would be the best ever at UF. He never had a double-double and his career highs of 14 points and nine rebounds are nothing spectacular
Yet he seems to be ready for a strong finish to his college career. Richard has scored in double figures for the past three games. It’s the only time in his career he reached ten-plus points for three straight outings.
The Gators will miss both guys for all they meant to teams that won both NCAA and SEC Titles. They’ve earned their final bow on Sunday