The chance that junior center Damontre Harris will ever appear for a game at Florida are growing more and more slim.
Here’s some of what Florida coach Billy Donovan had to say about the 6-foot-10 South Carolina transfer on Wednesday. Harris has been suspended for the beginning of the season for violation of team rules.
“He’s in the dorm,” Donovan said. “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.
“We’re always willing to reach out and to help. But when it is a consistent pattern of behavior, of not accepting, taking the help or going where you’re supposed to be, being where you’re supposed to be or doing what you’re supposed to do. 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.
“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 doing 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 part of their grown. 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.
“I’m all for giving guys second chances. I think Scottie (Wilbekin) is a much better player and person for what he had to go through. And I think Damontre has to make a decision. Do I want to change? Do I want my life to change for the better? Or do I want to just through cruise through life and not do anything. He’s got to make that choice.”
- I asked Donovan on Wednesday if he could see sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith moving into the starting lineup based on his recent performances. Finney-Smith posted UF’s first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench against Jacksonville. “Last year we pretty much were set with a consistent starting lineup for most of the year.” Donovan said. “I could see this year it changing some. It has changed based on injuries. I could see him at some point starting, I can see a guy like Will Yeguete coming off the bench or I could see (Michael) Frazier coming back to the bench with him starting or I could see Kasey Hill coming back getting the start with two guards together. A lot is going to depend on who we are playing against, matchups, those kind of things. I think it’s a good thing we have that flexibility.
“The one thing I would say about this group, it’s a pretty unselfish group, they are not an ego-driven group. I think a lot of guys if they had their druthers wants to start, for whatever that is. But I don’t think our guys are so wrapped up it that they can’t function if they are not starting. So I think right now, he’ll probably come off the bench against Florida State and when that changes or if it does change, it could.”
- With Harris in limbo, Florida had added a big man to the squad for practice purposes. His name is Zach Pindar and he’s a 6-foot-9 former starting center at Dr. Phillips High in Orlando. He’s in a similar situation to recent walk-on addition Lexx Edwards, a guard who practiced with the Gators last season before being added to the UF roster.