SEC: Fire and Ice

By Doug Kroll - October 25, 2006

Before I get into the National Champs, let me first say how difficult it was to get a word in with the head coach of the National Champs! I have to admit that it was one of the toughest things that I have done as a journalist, but nonetheless, one of the proudest. Florida's Billy Donovan brought along Al Horford and Lee Humphrey, surprisingly Joakim Noah did not make the trip. But even though he didn't, he was still a heavy part in today's first session in Birmingham, because after all, he is the most recognizable player from the champs.

There are many tour companies out there who bill a trip called "Fire and Ice." The purpose is to let travelers exeprience the snow and ice of Alaska, with the hot temps and beaches of Hawai'i. But when it comes to paying for a trip such as that, things can get pricey. Visitors don't have to look any further than Gainesville, Florida, where Noah and Al Horford are the Gator's own, Fire and Ice. Through their championship run of 2006 (more on that later), one thing was for certain, Noah was the player who wore his emotions on his sleeve. Quietly, Horford was one of the most competitive players on the court, and when balanced together, they formed a very good duo when it came to firing guys up. Their head coach believes so, anyway.

"I think they do compliment each other," Donovan said. "I think Al sometimes gets this perception of being this laid back, easy going guy, well Al is one of the most competitive guys that I've ever coached; and one of the smartest guys I've ever coached. They're just different, Noah wears his emotions on his sleeve everyday. Al is a little more [likely] to not show the emotion, but they offset and compliment each other very well, because i think sometimes when [Noah] gets going, Al is pretty good about reeling him in, and when Al needs to get going a little bit and needs to show some emotion, Joakim does a good job of getting him going. Plus they get along very well on and off the floor."

Horford also agrees.

"[Noah] shows a lot of emotion on the court," Horford said. "So you can definitely see that he's the type of guy that can get a team going just by the way that he plays. I guess that would be an accurate statement [about Fire and Ice]."

Humphrey also chimed in on the subject.

"They have different styles, their games are a little bit different," Humphrey said. "Al is definitely calmer, and not nearly as emotional as Joakim, who is really like a team spark when he gets all fired up. We have a nickname for Al on the team, as we call him 'The Godfather.'"

And on that note, I'll get back to Florida later on in the day.

Posted by Doug Kroll at 12:55 PM on October 25, 2006

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