Not too many players get the opportunity to win both an NCAA title and an NBA championship. Corey Brewer is one of the few. Brewer won not just one, but two straight NCAA titles with the University of Florida in 2006 and 2007, playing alongside Joakim Noah and Al Horford. After winning back-to-back titles, Brewer, Noah and Horford were all drafted in the top 10 of the 2007 NBA Draft, marking the first time that a school had three top-10 picks in the same year. Unsurprisingly, Brewer looks back fondly on his college and draft experience.
"We were the first school to have three guys go top 10 in the NBA Draft. That's a feat. Nobody ever did that," Brewer said on CBS Sports' Draft Day Memories: Presented By Jeep. "We went from having food fights in the dorm room to shaking David Stern's hand. That's the stuff you dream about … you can't make this up ... We did college the right way. Jo [Jokim Noah] and Al [Horford] will tell you the same thing … we had a blast. Winning championships back to back was just icing on the cake."
Brewer planned to head to the NBA after winning his first national title with Florida in 2006. However, after a conversation with his parents, he decided to return to school for one more year -- a decision that paid dividends and resulted in a second straight championship and an NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award.
"It's hard to win a national championship," Brewer said. "We won two. After championship No. 1, we kind of all knew that we were going to get drafted in the first round. I was like 'I'm actually going to have a chance to go to the NBA. I gotta go to the NBA and take care of my family.' That's what most people dream of, you get to take care of your family.
"I came home that summer and I talked to my parents and I'll never forget, my dad was like 'I lived my life. I'm 60 years old. Don't go to the NBA for me, do it for you. So, if you're not ready to go, don't go. Go back to school.' Then, after we won the second championship, it was pretty much guaranteed you're going to be a top 10 [pick]."
When he ultimately did get drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the seventh pick in 2007, the moment was a surreal one for Brewer. "The first thing that went through my head when I got drafted was, 'wow, I'm really in the NBA. Corey Brewer from Portland, Tennessee. I'm in the NBA.'"
Brewer's winning ways didn't end in college, as he went on to win an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks just four years after he was drafted. That experience is also one that he still fondly reflects on.
"I won an NBA championship," Brewer said. "I went to Dallas, got to play for the Mavs, got to play with Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Shawn Merion, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler. I was really on a championship team. So that's a memory that I think about all the time actually. I won a ring."
Now that he has paved the way, Brewer is eager to see the next generation of players from his hometown follow in his footsteps.
"I'm just waiting for the next person to come out of Portland, Tennessee, and make it. I think they're going to be able to tell the same story I told. They can look and they can be like 'Corey Brewer made it, I can make it too.'"