Donovan explains Harris departure

Damontre Harris realized he made a mistake after leaving the team during the 2013-14 season. He corrected his mistake by asking Florida coach Billy Donovan to give him another chance, and that wish was granted with a long list of things Harris needed to accomplish to earn his way back. He didn't come close to meeting them and will finish his college career somewhere other than Florida.

The situation was similar to what Scottie Wilbekin went through in that both had to work their ways back on the team. The road for Damontre Harris to get back was actually easier than what the former Florida point guard endured.

"What Scottie Wilbekin had to do was way, way more difficult than what Damontre had to do because when Scottie's situation happened it was in the offseason, he was totally removed from our team," Billy Donovan said on Thursday. "(Harris) was in practice, he was used on the scout team."

The things Harris had to do to regain his place on the team were normal expectations for college players. The Florida coaches wanted him to go to class, be on time, be in the weight room and showing up to practice. They provided more focus on his every move because of the situation Harris put himself, but nothing they asked him to do was more than a normal student-athlete was expected to do.

"We evaluated him over that two and a half, three months over that second semester and clearly nothing had changed at all," Donovan said. "He was the one who wanted the opportunity, but there really was no change to the level that we needed to see change, very similar to the change that we saw in Scottie. Scottie's change was incredible and that really showed out with the way he played. But with Damontre, there was no change."

Donovan made it a point to say multiple times on Thursday that he didn't believe Harris was a bad kid or a troublemaker. He just wasn't driven like he needed to be to stay a part of the Florida program.

"He's just not responsible enough to do the things that we need to do every single day," Donovan said. "I think I would be doing him a disservice as a coach to push him through the system and just try to keep him eligible and get him to the floor, just have him go out there and play because I don't believe you can win like that.

"He's a good kid, but really undisciplined and unreliable in a lot of ways, and really selling me on the fact that he's going to be that way."

Donovan was scheduled to sit down and talk with Harris about the future when last season came to an end. However, Harris didn't show up for the meeting. Conversations between the two have only taken place through text message, and Donovan isn't sure where Harris will go from Gainesville.

However, the Florida coach is still willing to help.

"I would do anything I could to help him," Donovan said. "I don't think that he's a bad kid."

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