Just months after being taken off of scholarship and promising to earn his way back into the good graces of head coach Billy Donovan, Florida Gators redshirt sophomore forward Cody Larson has decided to quit the team.
“After a lot of careful thought, I have decided that I need to place my focus on my personal life and my academics,” Larson said in a team statement. “I really appreciate Coach Donovan and the whole staff here at Florida for the support they have given me and that made this decision harder than ever.”
According to Scout.com, which first reported Larson’s decision, it is currently unknown if he will eventually transfer in order to play elsewhere though he does plan to finish out the academic year in Gainesville, FL.
“I know this was a difficult decision for Cody. He has made great strides in his personal growth, and I’m very proud of him for that,” Donovan said in a statement. “All of us here wish him the best as he moves on from our team.”
Donovan’s decision to recruit Larson was a controversial one. The South Dakota native, who was originally committed to Iowa but backed out after a coaching change, was coming off of an arrest for a misdemeanor drug charge when he committed to Florida.
After taking a redshirt his first year on campus, Larson was arrested at the conclusion of the season on April 10 in St. Augustine, FL and charged with third-degree felony burglary (it was later reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor). The arrest nevertheless violated his two-year probation, and he was forced to return to South Dakota to attempt to avoid jail time.
Aside from his off-the-court issues, Larson’s did not make the jump Donovan expected him to on the court. He played in 25 games as a reserve last season, averaging just 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor in less than six minutes per game. Larson occasionally appeared unsure of himself on the floor and often made errors on both ends of the court.
The Gators did not lose a frontcourt member in the offseason meaning Larson was unlikely to see extended or additional playing time during the 2012-13 campaign.
While his departure may not have much impact on Florida’s game rotation, it does hurt the team in practice as he is now the second player listed at 6’9″ or taller who will no longer be working with the team between games. The Gators lost junior transfer center Damontre Harris to a shoulder injury just last week.