South Carolina power forward Damontre Harris enjoyed a successful sophomore season and is looking to transfer from the team, and the Florida Gators and the Kansas Jayhawks are his final two choices. His transfer saga is nearing it’s end, but the Jayhawks could be the favorites for Harris due to a recent development.
According to some sources, the Gators are now the favorites to land a different transfer; former top recruit Dorian Finney-Smith. The power forward would like to have the opportunity to play on the wing, and is thus looking to leave Virginia Tech.
He averaged seven rebounds per game in 29 minutes per game last year, but he was a liability on offense despite being a solid defensive player and quality rebounder. Playing on the wing might help Finney-Smith as well, and it never seemed like he fit Va. Tech. Either that, or he’s not that good. I think a change of scenery could do him well, because he does have sufficient talent.
This doesn’t mean that UF won’t land Damontre Harris, but the fact that they are favorites for a different recruit has a good chance of hurting their ability (even slightly) at nabbing Harris, who is the better player. Although he was ranked about 30 spots lower in his respective recruiting class, Harris progressed nicely from year-to-year and should be regarded as a breakout star.
Both Finney-Smith and Harris will have to sit out the 2012 seasons, and both are intriguing players. Finney-Smith has quite a bit of upside and is much better than his rough freshman campaign indicated, although he did show plenty of flashes and promise and can blossom into a key contributor for a big-time program like Florida.
Marquette is viewed as the second most likely destination spot for Finney-Smith, with Villanova, Kansas, and VCU being possible destinations. However, I would be surprised if he ends up going to Kansas.
It seems like Kansas is the favorite to nab Damontre Harris, even if it’s only a slight edge over the Gators. Even if Harris transfers, incoming recruit Perry Ellis will start at PF in 2012. He’s a top 25 recruit and an incredible talent, so he figures to be a difference-maker and could entrench himself as a starter. That will make for an interesting 2013 scenario between Harris and Ellis, and, if Harris goes to KU, it will be interesting to see how Bill Self handles the two star bigs.
Jeff Withey and Kevin Young are two good big men, with Withey being one of the best in the nation. Both will departure after the coming season, so either Harris or Ellis could play at center, but that’s not ideal.