Incoming Florida Gators 2010 three-star power forward commitment Cody Larson (Sioux Falls, SD) spoke about his recent legal ordeal with The Argus Leader on Saturday, one day before receiving his high school diploma and one day after being sentenced to 120 days suspended jail time and two years probation in a Minnehaha County court. He will also volunteer three days a week until he leaves for Gainesville, FL.
Larson who, according to court documents, was found with Hydrocodone (pain killer) in his home during an investigation into extensive prescription drug abuse at Roosevelt High School, was charged with a misdemeanor for being in a room where it was known that drugs were stored and utilized. He accepted a plea deal Friday, avoiding a trial and potentially the maximum allowable punishment of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Should he stay out of trouble for two years, he will never have to enter a jail cell – and Florida head coach Billy Donovan believes that he will successfully avoid just that.
“Cody and his family were very upfront about the situation,” Donovan told the Leader on a separate occasion. “When we first got in touch with him after he got his release from Iowa, we didn’t know any of this. He brought it to our attention and made it clear that he was ready to learn from it and move on. This is a young man who made a mistake that he’s paying for. I think he’s embarrassed, and I think there was naiveness on his part about what he was getting into.”
Nevertheless, Larson’s qualifying for admission to the University of Florida was far from a decision that Donovan could make on his own.
“Anytime something like this happens, where an athlete is brought up on charges, it’s not just my decision,” Donovan said. “It goes through the athletic department and our compliance person, and it’s a matter of getting more information. Our school felt like the situation was not as severe as some people thought it was going to be. Based on the information we had, we decided that we would definitely recruit Cody and offer him a scholarship.”
Below are portions of a lengthy and informative interview Lasron did with the Leader. He speaks about why he took and shared the pills, why he decided to join the Gators and how he has changed as a person…after the break.