Updated on Thursday at 1 a.m.
The Florida Gators announced just over one hour before tip-off on Wednesday that redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith, the team’s second-leading scorer, has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Finney-Smith sat out Wednesday night’s contest against the Vanderbilt Commodores and will at least miss one more game on Saturday.
“He’s suspended. I’m not playing him against LSU. I’m going to revisit it again on Monday,” head coach Billy Donovan said after Wednesday’s game.
Finney-Smith, the 2014 SEC Sixth Man of the Year, is not only Florida’s best active scorer but also its leading rebounder, accounting for 12.9 points and 5.8 boards per game. He also shoots a team-high 47.5 percent from the field among starters.
“When these things happen, I think it’s very, very easy to pass judgment on a kid who’s really a good kid. He’s not [a bad kid]. He’s a great kid to coach. And I’m not just saying that because he’s here on our team and because I’m supposed to say that. Like, he’s a good kid,” Donovan explained.
“But I think it has been a microcosm of this season with our team in what I would say a lack of commitment and a lack of consistency of what really goes into winning. This maybe is something that I’ve been battling all year long. … One of the questions that has gone through my mind this year is, ‘Can you force somebody to be committed?’ Thinking about it, commitment is one of the most difficult things in life, to commit your heart, mind, soul, body, everything into something. I think that really is very, very difficult to do. And I believe that’s the only way you can really be successful.
“Dorian’s decisions represent a lack of commitment, in my opinion.”
The Gators are also currently without junior guard Michael Frazier II – the team’s leading scorer (13.2 points per game), three-point shooter (.401) and free throw shooter (.877) – who continues to recover from a high-ankle sprain suffered against Kentucky that has kept him out of Florida’s last two games.
“Right now, my feeling is – unless something changes – I don’t know this to be 100 percent true, but I would say right now I don’t think we’ll get him back before the month’s out. That’s just my guess. I think you’re looking into March right now,” Donovan said.
“Because Michael’s been a phenomenal shooter and he’s been our leading scorer, I think you cannot underestimate the fact that this guy’s going to nearly go three weeks without [practicing] – and to throw him back whenever he’s cleared to play and expect him to be like he was before he got hurt, I think would be really, really difficult to put that on him. …
“I don’t have a high expectation for him when he comes back because he hasn’t practiced now since the Kentucky game. He hasn’t even shot; he hasn’t done anything. All he’s doing is try to rehab his ankle and trying to get himself healthy. … I’m almost of the mindset, as a coach right now, that we’re kind of without him the rest of the year even though he might come back.”
At 13-13 and 5-7 in SEC play, UF is floundering and facing its first five-game losing streak since 1997-98, head coach Billy Donovan‘s second season leading the program.
The Gators enter Wednesday’s contest scoring 65.4 points per game, the third-lowest average in program history (since the statistic was tracked) and worst average since 1950-51 (62.7).
This is Finney-Smith’s second suspension since joining the program after missing the first three games of the 2013-14 campaign. Overall, Donovan has handed down four suspensions this season for team rules violations.