NBA DRAFT: Horford selected by Hawks

Florida Gator Al Horford’s dream came true as he went in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks as the third selection overall. Horford showed his Gator spirit on the stage by doing the Gator chomp.

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Al Horford quotes on ESPN about himself, Brewer, and Noah:

“We’re just really excited about the opportunity we’re getting to, all three of us, to represent the University of Florida.  It’s an honor for us.  It’s very important for me to work hard and make sure that I stay focused and take care of myself in order to be successful in this league.”

Stay tuned as we have full stories later from our staff in New York!

ESPN Profile:

Chad Ford’s Analysis: He’s the third best player in the draft, so you can’t fault the Hawks here. He’s better than any other power forward they have. He could be a poor man’s Karl Malone. The Hawks did need a point guard, and I think Mike Conley was worth the No. 3 pick in the draft, so I would’ve taken Conley. But—unlike Shelden Williams last year—this isn’t a bad pick.

Notes: Horford announced on April 5 that he was declaring for the 2007 NBA Draft and forgoing his senior season of college. His father, Tito, played in the NBA.

Positives: Horford has the tools to be a great NBA player. He’s long, athletic and has a great NBA body. He’s got excellent toughness and doesn’t shy away from banging in the paint. Excellent passer for a big man. His per minute numbers in the point, rebounding and shot-blocking departments have scouts drooling. Gets up and down the floor. Good motor. Very quick for a big guy. Excellent basketball IQ. Improving midrange game.

Negatives: His offensive skills in the post are improving, but he still needs a lot of work. Gets into foul trouble a lot due to overaggressiveness. Plays a little robotic.

Summary: Horford has the body and skill set needed to play in the NBA right away. He was a beast as a shot blocker and rebounder, and he impresses scouts with his ability to handle the ball under pressure in the open court. Horford needs a little more polish on the offensive end, but he has everything else you want in a power player—the length, strength, motor, athleticism and basketball IQ that coaches crave in a power forward. His game still has room to grow, but right now he looks like a lock for the Top 10 and a potential Top 5 prospect thanks to an excellent NCAA tournament.

Horford ESPN Video:

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Chat Transcript:

Chris (PA): Al, I have to be honest, I wanted to see you drop just so you could end up on the Sixers. How’s it feel to be going to ATL?

AL HORFORD: If feels good. It’s a city that I enjoy being in. I felt like I had good chemistry when I went over there and worked out with them. I feel blessed to be going there.

John Stockton (Utah): Hey Al! What does Atlanta need to do to compete?

AL HORFORD: I feel like we jus thave to go out there and work hard and knowing that it’s a process. Make sure that we stick together. That’s important.

Jack (Sacramento): Al, at what point did you stop being Tito’s kid and start being Al?

AL HORFORD: I feel like after I won my first national championship was when people started to realize that I was a pretty good player. People started to recognize me as a pretty good player.

Barnabus O’Hoolihan (Tallahasse): Congrats Al! Who has sexier hair Billy Donovan or J. Noah?

AL HORFORD: Oh definitely Joakim. He’s got those hot curls, especially today at the draft. He’s unique.

AL HORFORD: I got a lot of love for all the fans. Gator fans. We’re going to do big things in Atlanta.