Florida Gators basketball received a significant boost to its frontcourt in 2013-14 after learning Saturday that South Carolina Gamecocks power forward Damontre Harris has chosen to transfer to the University of Florida.
A four-star prospect and the No. 64 player in the country as ranked by Rivals.com in 2010, Harris decided to leave South Carolina after the administration fired head coach Darrin Horn and replaced him with Frank Martin. Florida and Kansas battled for his transfer, and the player also gave consideration to staying in Columbia, SC.
Instead Harris will be forced to sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules but will fill a major position of need for the Gators when his redshirt season is up. He will still be able to practice with the team next year, providing sophomores center Patric Young and forward Will Yeguete with a big, talented opponent to go up against each day.
At 6’9” and 226 lbs., Harris has been an important and effective player for the Gamecocks over his two years with the team. He averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 25.9 minutes per game his sophomore season while shooting .550 from the field and .804 from the free throw line.
Florida has not had a shot blocker average more than two swats per game since Joakim Noah registered 2.4 per contest during his sophomore season (2005-06).
With Young potentially moving on to the NBA after his junior year and the Gators not having received any commitments taller than 6’6” as part of their 2012 or 2013 (so far) recruiting classes, Harris should eventually have a legitimate opportunity to start for Florida though he most certainly will not be handed that role.
Martin has a good relationship with Gators head coach Billy Donovan and did not place any restrictions on Harris as it pertained to contacting or transferring to a SEC East rival.
Despite Harris’s decision, Florida is still pursuing transfer forward Dorian Finney-Smith of Virginia Tech, a source close to the program confirmed to OGGOA on Saturday
Photo Credit: Associated Press