Posted: 2:05 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013
By Andy Hutchins
Florida coach Billy Donovan announced Thursday that Dorian Finney-Smith, Damontre Harris, and Scottie Wilbekin are all indefinitely suspended for violations of team rules, and will miss Florida's exhibition opener against Florida Southern on Friday and the Gators' season opener against North Florida on November 8.
Billy D announces F Dorian Finney-Smith and F/C Damontre Harris will join Scottie Wilbekin on suspension list.— Chris Harry (@GatorZoneChris) October 31, 2013
"DoeDie" and Tre, like Scottie, cited for violating team rules. Won't play in exhibition Friday. #Gators— Chris Harry (@GatorZoneChris) October 31, 2013
"Indefinite" suspensions for #Gators Finney-Smith, Harris & Wilbekin that will spill into regular season.— Chris Harry (@GatorZoneChris) October 31, 2013
Of the suspensions, only those for Finney-Smith and Harris are news: Wilbekin has been indefinitely suspended since April, with a summer report suggesting he would be suspended for at least six games — consistent with a third violation of Florida's drug policy. And both Finney-Smith and Harris were named in an August report by Gator Country's Franz Beard that had both of those players and Casey Prather suspended.
And this isn't really a surprise to me, either: Sources told me this summer that one of the names in Beard's report was wrong, but the gist was correct, and suggested that Florida's "nothing to announce at this time" statement in the wake of Beard's report meant there was fire beneath the smoke. This is part of why I wrote as pessimistically as I did in addressing Patric Young's comment at SEC Media Days that Florida would have just seven players available to begin the year.
While we don't know what team rules Finney-Smith and Harris broke, Beard's reporting suggested a three-game penalty, consistent with a second violation of Florida's drug policy, for both. And that's essentially what Wilbekin served in a different circumstance last year, missing Florida's first three regular season games before returning in the Gators' fourth. (Wilbekin played in Florida's exhibition opener before his suspension was announced on the eve of Florida's regular season opener against Georgetown.)
Florida's problem this year is that there's a lot more to absorb early on without suspended players; it was without just Wilbekin in that opener against Georgetown, but will now have just five scholarship players — Kasey Hill, Dillon Graham, DeVon Walker, Prather, and Young — fully healthy and available for the beginning of the 2013-14 season, with Michael Frazier II suffering from mononucleosis, Eli Carter still working his way back from a broken leg suffered in February, Will Yeguete still working his way back from offseason surgery, and Finney-Smith, Harris, and Wilbekin all suspended.
And while Florida should probably beat Florida Southern and North Florida even without more than half of its roster, facing Wisconsin on the road is an entirely different animal, and that's the Gators' second game of the regular season.
Florida fans have gotten used to the adversity on the field since last fall's football slate. The beginning of the 2013-14 Florida basketball season is now assured to produce a lot of adversity on the court.