A crossroads for Harris

Florida thought it was getting its future at center and a solid backup for Patric Young when Damontre Harris announced his intentions to transfer from South Carolina to Gainesville. Instead, it has been nothing but headaches for the Florida staff. Harris isn't practicing with the team and hasn't had any recent contact with head coach Billy Donovan.

The only concrete knowledge Donovan had on Damontre Harris' situation on Wednesday was that he has been going to class and that he is in Gainesville "from what I gather." Donovan hasn't been clear what the issue with Harris is, just that the redshirt junior is suspended from the team and continues to avoid help getting back on the right path.

That's the most frustrating part for Donovan.

On Monday night in Jacksonville, Scottie Wilbekin made his first appearance of the season after being suspended for the first five regular season games. Throughout his suspension, Wilbekin was constantly checking in with Donovan to make sure they were on the same page and that the senior was on the right path to having his suspension come to an end. Harris has done none of that.

"He's got to want to say, ‘this is what I want and this is what I'm prepared to do,'" Billy Donovan said. "He has not done that. He has said, ‘this is what I'd like.' (He wants) 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."

Even if Harris does come to Donovan's office and tell him he wants back on the team, it's not an immediate process. He would have to earn his way back and prove to his coaches that he wanted to wear orange and blue this season. But it doesn't end there. Donovan thinks he would have to regain the respect of his teammates, too.

"He has a lot of work to do inside of his team -- a lot of work," Donovan said. "I think our guys like Damontre and want to help Damontre, but they'd also like to see Damontre help Damontre."

Donovan and the South Carolina transfer haven't talked recently, and the Florida head coach even noted that things could begin the process of being patched up if Harris would reach out and open the lines of communication again. Harris, who lives in the athletic dorms next to the basketball facility, hasn't made the effort to walk to Donovan's office in the basketball facility and talk about the situation.

"He's not come over here one time," Donovan said. "And I'm certainly not going to chase him around. That's got to be something he wants to do."

There have been multiple scheduled activities -- meetings with a tutor and individual workouts -- that Harris has missed this season without letting anyone know.

The former Gamecock isn't living up to expectations

It comes down to the 6-10, 228-pound center has to make a choice about what he wants to do with his life. It goes further than just basketball for Donovan. He wants Harris to make up his mind about the direction of his life soon.

"Damontre has to make a decision," Donovan said. "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."

Wilbekin went through the process of earning his way back onto the team after making a mistake. Wilbekin wouldn't address on Wednesday if any Florida player has reached out to Harris, but the coaches are hoping he comes back. However, he's running out of time.

"We all make mistakes," Donovan said. "We've all done things there's regret or disappointment in. I always think there's forgiveness for everybody, but at some point -- after you've made these mistakes -- you have to say, "OK, I'm not going to get that happen and here's how I'm going to respond to it and I need to help. I need you to help me deal with this." But there's zero accountability at all (with Harris)."

INJURY REPORT: Sophomore guard DeVon Walker is day-to-day with a mid-foot sprain suffered on Monday against Jacksonville and is questionable to play against Florida State on Friday. Donovan said that X-rays came back negative and there is no break or ankle sprain. It all comes down to how his foot responds to the treatment.

He didn't practice with the team on Wednesday but could return to practice on Thursday. Donovan said the recovery could range from a couple days to 10 days.

Freshman point guard Kasey Hill remains on track to return around one month from the day he suffered a high ankle sprain on November 18.

"He's getting better and he's healing," Donovan said. "I really don't keep a whole lot of pulse on that. Once I find out what the injury is, the trainer's dealing with him and kind of gives me updates. He is progressing, he is getting better, he is improving. But he's not remotely close to getting back to the court yet."

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