Damontre Harris will not be returning to the Florida basketball program, according to a report from CBSSports.com.
Harris was an all-SEC defensive team performer as a sophomore at South Carolina in 2011-2012 before he made the decision to transfer to Florida. But after sitting out the 2012-2013 season as a transfer, Harris never saw the court last season due to off-the-court issues and was, for a time, kicked off of the team.
There was speculation that Harris would be allowed to return to the team for the 2014-2015 season, but that dissipated when Donovan accepted John Egbunu, a transfer from South Florida. Egbunu became the 14th player scheduled to be on scholarship next season, meaning that someone on the Florida roster had to go. Harris was the easy choice.
Harris, who was a top 100 recruit coming out of high school in 2010, averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 boards and 2.3 blocks as a sophomore with the Gamecocks. He has one season of eligibility remaining, but he’ll need to graduate immediately and receive a graduate transfer waiver to play immediately in 2014-2015. Athletes are allowed five seasons to use four years of eligibility, and 2014-2015 will be the fifth year that Harris has been a collegiate athlete.
Florida forward Damontre Harris is back to practicing with the team after previously being dismissed from the team last month.
The Associated Press is reporting that Harris is now running with the Florida scout team and is also involved with team activities. Head coach Billy Donovan will not allow Harris to play or sit on the bench during games though, saying that, “would completely devalue our core values”.
The former South Carolina transfer has yet to play at game at Florida after redshirting last season and being suspended this season, but as a practice body, he should help the Gators as they prepare to make a run at the SEC title and a Final Four.
It was just three weeks ago that Billy Donovan announced that center Damontre Harris was no longer a member of the Florida basketball team.
The South Carolina transfer had been suspended earlier this season and it wasn’t surprising to see him eventually get the boot from Donovan.
What was surprising, however, was when Donovan announced on Wednesday night that Harris will re-enroll at Florida for the spring semester to try and work his way back onto the team. What does he have to do to make that happen? Well, Donovan wasn’t so clear. The immediate reaction from the cynic in me was that this was a clear response to Donovan’s concerns about Chris Walker’s pending NCAA eligibility, but that doesn’t appear to be the case either. Donovan also told reporters that Harris would not be playing in any games this season.
If he’s going to make a return to the court, it will be in November.
“We traded some texts over the Christmas break and he realized that he had made a big mistake,” Donovan told Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “He wants to work his way back on the team. It’s going to be similar to Scottie Wilbekin’s situation in that he has to meet some terms and conditions. Can he make it? I don’t know, but if he does it will be a great comeback story.”
Harris was arrested last February during his redshirt season. If he doesn’t play this year, that means that he will have spent two years as a Gator without sniffing the O-Dome court for as much as a second.