Billy D on Larson


Florida coach Billy Donovan said that he was comfortable offering incoming freshman forward Cody Larson a scholarship despite a pending misdemeanor drug charge in South Dakota.

But Donovan said the decision didn’t come without a great deal of research into Larson and his background.

“Getting to know him a little bit better, I think this was a mistake that he made that he took responsibility for, that he was up front, open and honest with me about,” Donovan said. “Checking in and around around him, I felt like he was a good kid who probably made a bad decision and a bad choice.”

Larson received a 120-day suspended jail sentence after being charged in an incident earlier this month in which prescription drugs were taken from his home. According to the arrest report, Larson provided the prescription pain-killer Hydrocodone to a high-school teammate.

Larson and his family made Donovan aware of the February arrest and pending charges when he was being recruited in April.

“When you hear him explain what happened and what went on, it was a young man who was very, very naive in a lot of ways,” Donovan said.

Donovan said he felt comfortable after receiving character references from Larson’s AAU coaches in South Dakota. Many were the same coaches that Donovan dealt win in recruiting former Gator standout Mike Miller from South Dakota more than a decade ago.

Donovan also said that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and director of compliance Jamie McCloskey were made aware of the situation before the scholarship was offered.

“We all felt like this was a mistake he made, that he certainly is paying a penalty,” Donovan said. “But you know what going forward we feel like he could be a good person and a good player.”

Donovan said that Larson’s sentence will not impact his arrival at UF or cut into his freshman season. A four-star recruit, the 6-foot-9 Larson should add quality depth to UF’s frontline next season.


  1. Billy and Florida handle this better than most coaches and schools, especially football coaches, would have and cut the kid a break he earned through being honest and accepting responsibility for his actions. Hopefully this works out for all concerned!

  2. I can’t believe the kid got a two year suspended sentence and community service. Way over the top.
    We aren’t talking about a kid out trying to score weed or blow, this is a kid who had a friend in pain, and had some pain pills left over from knee surgery.
    Can we not see a scenario where he goes to the medicine cabinet to get a pain reliever, and next to the Tylenol is his prescription pain medication, and the kid thinks “hey this is even better than the Tylenol, I’ll give him one of these instead”.
    This is a case of ignorance due to youth. It is certainly not a case where the kid should end up with a drug conviction on his record.
    Common sense is a thing of the past. Sad.

  3. Remember, this all happened in South Dakota, where they thought this was a major drug bust, and was probably front page news. Things are kind of slow there.

    Seriously, the fact that both the kid and his parents were up front with UF from the start during the recruiting process speaks well for them, and I’m glad the kid is getting a chance, regardless of how well he pans out as a player. Good for Billy.

  4. Being naive is a very sorry excuse if you ask me. Being up front??? What choice did they have??? He was 18 and treated as an adult…would have therefore, been found on his record. It was clearly a choice Larson made. Whether your from here in Gainesville or South Dakota this is a problem in each and every state…slow or not!