The Florida Gators and redshirt junior center Damontre Harris have all but officially parted ways with the transfer unlikely to ever play a game in a Gators uniform.
Though he transferred out of South Carolina to restart his career at Florida and even battled back from a torn labrum while sitting out the entire 2012-13 season, Harris has found himself in head coach Billy Donovan’s doghouse and appears ready to move on.
“I talked to Damontre last week a little bit – nothing’s changed at all – right now he’s not part of our team [and] I don’t anticipate him coming back to be part of our team,” Donovan said Monday. “I think he has shown no signs of wanting to do the things necessary to come back, so I really don’t know what his plans will be or where he will go; but right now I don’t ever anticipate him playing here at Florida.”
Originally serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules, Harris did not return to the court when his mandatory time away from the team came to a conclusion.
Donovan criticized him harshly on Nov. 15 when he announced that Harris was no longer part of the team and would have to work his way back into the coach’s good graces.
“[Harris is] not a bad kid, but he’s not accountable at all and he’s not responsible enough to take care of the things he needs to take care of,” Donovan explained.
“I’ve always believed this: if I can’t expect somebody to be accountable off the floor, to do what they’re supposed to do in all areas of their life, how can I expect them to guard a pick-and-roll, remember a play, to go get a rebound and do those things? If you can’t be accountable there, it’s not like you turn it on and turn it off. Either you have the wherewithal to be accountable [or you don’t].”
Last week, Donovan spoke at length about Harris’s future at Florida.
“At a certain point, he’s got to want to say, ‘This is what I want and this is what I’m prepared to do.’ He has not done that. He has said, ‘This is what I’d like: I want to play on the team.’ Well, this is what you have to do. What he wants and what he has to do are not matching up. I’m now at a crossroads in the dilemma. Does he want to play? Does he not want to play? It’s easy to say that but there’s going to be some things he’s going to have to go through to get back on our team. He’s not going to just come in here and say, ‘I want back on the team.’ ‘Great, come on down to practice, we’ll throw you on and give you a uniform.’ He has got a lot of work to do.
“I think as coaches, we realize we’re dealing with young men and [are a] part of their growth. But he has a lot of work to do inside of his team; a lot of work. I think our guys like Damontre and want to help Damontre, but they’d also like to see Damontre help Damontre. That, I think, is what’s so difficult as a coach. When you have all the resources here at Florida to really help someone in every possible area – on the court, off the court, academically, weight room, film – and you’re not taking advantage of it.
“At some point, he’s the one responsible. … He’s in the dorm. It’d be very easy for him to come over to my office to talk. He’s not come over here one time. And I’m certainly not going to chase him around. That’s got to be something he wants to do.”
Harris was supposed to be a big part of the Gators’ increased team depth this season as the primary reserve behind senior C Patric Young. Instead, Young will once again be counted on to shoulder the entire load as Florida’s lone true big man in the paint.
Mike Brandes contributed to this story.
Photo Credit: Associated Press