This past recruiting cycle proved difficult for the Gators when it came to landing a big man. Two of the countries top power forward recruits that Donovan was after chose to suit up for different teams. Anthony Bennett, the No. 7 player overall and No. 1 power forward (according to Rivals.com), landed with UNLV. Alex Poythress, the No. 8 player overall and No. 2 power forward, landed with the reigning champion Kentucky Wildcats.
In recruiting “every dog has his day,”and the Gators just got theirs. According to multiple reports South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris will be suiting up for the Gators.
At 6-foot-9 and 227 pounds, Harris will add considerable depth to the Gators front-court. Due to transfer rules he will have to sit out for the 2012-13 season, however he will have a chance to mature under Donovan over the next year, and learn the new system.
Harris will have two years of eligibility remaining come 2013.
The Gamecocks’ basketball program recently went through a major overhaul with the hiring of former K-State head coach Frank Martin to replace fired coach Darrin Horn.
Following the changes in Columbia, Harris announced that he would be looking elsewhere to finish his college career. The news was music to the ears of several coaches, and big-time programs, looking to add depth to their front court with one of the nation’s top young players.
For Florida it was a major coup, beating out the power-house Kansas Jayhawks, and Bill Self, for his services.
With Erik Murphy entering his senior season, and Patric Young entering his junior season, the Gators could have a very empty front court following the 2012-13 season. Many believe that Young will head to the NBA after next year.
Having an experienced talented big-man ready to step in, and prove to his new team and fan base that he is more than capable of continuing the tradition, has to lift a weight off Donovan’s, and the Gator Nation’s, shoulders.
Harris on transferring (Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer):
“I pretty much look at it like a new chapter in my life, a new experience.”
During his sophomore campaign, Harris averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 boards, and 2.3 blocks per game. Harris’ block line was good for second best in the SEC.
For the Gator Nation, bringing Harris to our bench is particularly interesting. Harris has excelled in games against the Gators, especially in the O’Dome, where he recorded his best game as a freshman two years ago.
Harris on playing in the O’Dome (Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer):
“The best game I had my freshman year was there, and my sophomore year, that’s probably the best game I had. The coaches have been joking with me a lot, so I just tell them it’s the gym and their fans, the atmosphere.”
Welcome to the Gator Nation Harris! We look forward to seeing you suit up in the Orange and Blue.
More from Swampland: Snoop Dogg Tebowing After Throwing First Pitch of White Sox Game (Video)