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Florida Gators gain one player, lose another

Damontre Harris, left, who sat out last season after transferring from South Carolina, has struggled with personal issues and hasn't been with the team since the season began.

AP photo

Damontre Harris, left, who sat out last season after transferring from South Carolina, has struggled with personal issues and hasn't been with the team since the season began.

GAINESVILLE

The Florida basketball team gained one player and lost another over the past week.

Freshman F Chris Walker joined the team Saturday after being admitted to UF for the spring semester, but he will not travel to New York for tonight's game against Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic. Meanwhile, transfer Damontre Harris' career ended before it began.

Walker, 6 feet 10 and 220 pounds, is awaiting clearance from the NCAA Clearinghouse and can't participate in games until then. For now, he's practicing and trying to gel with his new teammates.

"We're really, really happy that he's here. … That kid has really, really worked hard and has shown great resiliency to be here," coach Billy Donovan said. "The fact that he has worked so hard to get here says a lot about his commitment to wanting to be at Florida. The other piece obviously now for him is the enormous amount of excitement for him being in practice. But I think as time wears on, he is going to find out just how far behind he really is."

Walker has practiced for only a couple of days, but senior F Will Yeguete said players can already tell he'll have an impact.

"He's really athletic," Yeguete said. "I see him walking out, athletically, it's crazy. He's just asking questions, he wants to learn, he's really excited to be here, finally. Just him being in practice running up and down and trying to learn plays and how to guard and everything I think is really exciting. I'm happy for him to be here because he's doing a lot of work. He's real athletic, he has a lot of size. I think he can definitely help us."

Harris, a F/C who sat out last season after transferring from South Carolina, has had personal issues and hasn't been with the team since the season began.

"I talked to Damontre a little bit last week," Donovan said. "Nothing has changed at all. Right now he's not part of our team. I don't anticipate him coming back to be a part of our team. I think he has shown no signs of wanting to do the things necessary to come back. So I really don't know what his plans would be or where he'll go."

Donovan said Harris indicated he wanted to rejoin the team but repeatedly failed to show up for scheduled meetings with coaches, trainers and support staff.

WIILBEKIN HONORED: Senior G Scottie Wilbekin was named SEC player of the week Monday. Wilbekin scored a career-high 18 in a victory over Kansas and has scored in double figures in three of his four games this season. He is averaging 13 points per game and shooting 46.2 percent on 3-pointers.

STAYING IN SCHOOL: It appears Gators senior WR Quinton Dunbar and DL Leon Orr (New Port Richey) will remain for their final seasons based on their social media interaction Monday. Dunbar said on his Twitter account that he has won championships in every phase of his life, and "I came back to school to leave as a champion. … It's a must I get one in college."

Orr wrote: "Everybody jumping like we got a sunken ship … put it on my mama we gone take off next fall with no mercy for anyone!"

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com. Follow her on Twitter @TBTimes_Gators.

Florida Gators gain one player, lose another 12/16/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 16, 2013 8:57pm]
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