Damontre Harris leaves Florida Gators for good

By Adam Silverstein
May 21, 2014

Center Damontre Harris, who sat out two seasons with the Florida Gators due to NCAA transfer rules and team discipline, will leave the program without stepping on the court and playing a single game.

Harris’s departure was first reported by CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein but confirmed minutes later by Florida on Wednesday.

A source close to the team told OnlyGators.com last month that Harris gave tremendous effort in practice during the spring semester and was impressing on the court. However, a second source noted last week that Harris reverted to old form when the offseason began, indicating that his time at UF would likely to come to an end before the 2014-15 campaign as he was already missing team activities.

Previously dismissed from the team in December 2013 by head coach Billy Donovan, Harris was having issues off the court that prevented him from doing what was necessary to contribute to the Gators last season.

He was suspended multiple games at the start of the season for a violation of team rules and was also rehabilitating from an injury, which supposedly contributed to him becoming disinterested in maintaining his status with the program.

“The things we were asking him to do weren’t anything out of the norm. But we’d go a week without hearing from him. He wouldn’t return our phone calls or text messages. His teammates didn’t know where he was,” Donovan said at the time.

Donovan reinstated Harris two weeks later. The big man re-enrolled at Florida for the spring semester after completing his fall coursework, and Donovan gave him the opportunity to work his way back into the team’s good graces.

“Damontre Harris is back in school. Right now, he is not playing this year. I’m not going to allow him to play,” Donovan announced in January.

“It could be a great, great story in his life if we can find a way to try to help him. Whenever he gets to practice, if he’s ever able to play here, he knows exactly what he needs to do. … Whether or not he can do it, we’ll see, but he wants to give it a shot. And I figured I’d like to try and help him see what he can do.”

The South Carolina transfer was expected to play a major role for the Gators in 2013-14 as the team looked to advance past the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Florida accomplished that feat without Harris, who was supposed to serve as the backup center behind Patric Young and be a player that could give UF immense frontcourt depth throughout the season.

The Gators jumped over the NCAA limit of 13 scholarships for next season after accepting a transfer from South Florida C John Egbunu on May 15. Egbunu will not be eligible until the start of the 2015-16 campaign. Harris’s departure puts Florida back at the scholarship mark.

Photo Credit: Associated Press


  1. Matt says:

    Since USF fired their coach is that a reason that Egbunu could transfer and not have to sit out?

  2. Scott says:

    Sorry to say, but Harris should be done. Kid needs to get his head on straight. Probably wasting a great chance and a lot of talent. Too bad for him…

  3. gatorboi352 says:

    So much for any more “should Walker play the 4 or the 5” talk. 5 spot it is.

  4. Gatoralum88 says:

    Fitting! A basketball player who’s really a “basket case”! What a joke! Regardless, gatorboi, I’d have no problem with a Horford, Walker, Finney-Smith frontline. The fact Harris was never added back to their roster even after the season gave me a feeling he’d be the “odd man out”. Also, I saw Chris Walker last week & he’s 6’10 of skin & bones. I am NOT buying that he’s “220”. That’s BS. He’s seriously skinny as a rail. He’ll be pushed around at 5.

  5. Dave Massey says:

    Don’t know where this guys head is at, buy it is definitely not on Florida basketball. He would have only been a backup to Horford anyways at the 5 and Walker at the 4. Knowing he wouldn’t start after seeing two centers transfer in was probably the final blow. Dodo will be playing the 3 and sometimes the 2 against some lineups when Frazier sits, although he will probably play all 5 positions at some point in the year depending on fouls, injuries, etc.. Walker is not a 5 right now and will only play there this year because of other guys in foul trouble. Not big enough to play the center position in the SEC. Good thing Tennessee graduated their center because PY had trouble with him. He would eat Walker’s lunch if he was still around.

  6. W says:

    What a real shame. I hope Damontre gets his life back on track and gets the opportunity to either earn a degree of resume his playing career (or both) at somewhere he can be focused and succeed.

    In anticipation of Walker moving to the 5, I would imagine that he’s going to be putting on as much weight as is possible for him. Despite the conventional wisdom that you have to be a Pat Young/Jarnell Stokes/WCS type to be a successful big man in the SEC, we’ve seen plenty of success from the lanky, super-athletic types. Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, Bobby Portis (Arkansas), and some of UGA’s big men from years past are examples. Walker’s biggest concern to me is not how much he ends up weighing, but how much he can really learn on offense and defense. His awareness was his biggest weakness, and if he can become a much smarter player as well as refining his game and putting on 20 pounds, I think he’ll be a very good center.

    Having Horford and, at least for part of the year, Murphy will help. I have a feeling that with the abundance of perimeter guys on the team, we might see a lot of small lineups, including Doe Doe at the 4.

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