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D.J. Haley leaving VCU program on eve of A-10 tournament

Mar 13, 2013, 4:07 PM EST

DJ Haley AP

Virginia Commonwealth reserve center D.J. Haley is leaving the school’s basketball program to focus on academics, head coach Shaka Smart announced in a release Wednesday.

“We appreciate DJ’s contributions to our program over the past three years,” Smart said in a statement. “Unfortunately, he has decided that his heart is no longer invested in basketball. Clearly it takes a significant commitment to compete as a student-athlete at this level and we understand that DJ’s priorities have changed.  We wish DJ nothing but the best for his future.”

Haley was averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in eight minutes per game this season. He was more a part of the regular rotation during the Rams’ non-conference schedule, but had his best game of the season Jan. 19 against Duquesne when he had six points, five rebounds, and three blocks in a victory.

He appeared in 102 games over the course of his nearly three full seasons with VCU and started 48 of those games. Moving on without him, the Rams will face of the winner of Xavier and St. Joe’s on Friday in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals.

The opening round of the A-10 tournament will be televised on the NBC Sports Network Thursday, beginning at 12 p.m. ET with Richmond against Charlotte. That will be followed by Butler-Dayton at 2:30 p.m. ET, Xavier-St. Joe’s at 6:30 p.m. ET, and UMass-George Washington at 9 p.m. ET.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_