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Ducharme leaves men's basketball

Calling his last season at Virginia "a tough year," Colin Ducharme announced Tuesday that he will transfer to Longwood College rather than spend his final season of basketball eligibility with the Cavaliers.

For Ducharme, the 6-foot-9 center who played sparingly last season after redshirting his junior year, the decision to go from the spotlight of the ACC to a small Division II program was one he grappled with for the last month. But with a trip to Greece upcoming, Ducharme said this was the time to make his choice final.

"It's going to be a big adjustment, Ducharme said. "You have to take buses everywhere and travel with the girls' team. It's definitely going to be a big sacrifice."

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    After graduating from the University with a physics degree in May, Ducharme had one year of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 1998-99 season with a broken left ankle. The two-year starter under former coach Jeff Jones could have taken other routes: transfer to a Division I program and sit out a year or stay at Virginia as a graduate student, like football star Thomas Jones did.

    But after seeing his playing time decrease significantly under coach Pete Gillen, Ducharme said he didn't think staying with the Cavs would give him the opportunities he wants. Last season, Ducharme averaged only 2.1 points and seven minutes per game - this after averaging 7.8 points per game as a sophomore starter.

    "I feel like I have accomplished my academic goals," Ducharme said. "Now, I'm really trying to pursue a dream in basketball. My goal [at Longwood] is to have fun and make basketball feel good and win games."

    That last goal might be a tough one. The Lancers finished their 1999-2000 campaign with a 4-22 record and an 11th place finish in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference under first-year coach Mike Leeder. But with Ducharme and Jason Pryor, a former Mr. Basketball from the state of Florida, transferring to the program, Longwood should improve.

    From a Virginia standpoint, Ducharme's transfer opens up minutes for the Cavs' litany of big men. Rising sophomore Travis Watson took most of the minutes last season but fans will see Stephane Dondon and Jason Rogers, along with newcomer J.C. Mathis, in increased roles next year. With all those talented players in the fold, Ducharme would have been little more than a forgotten man.

    Said Gillen: "I wish him well in all of his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions to the Virginia basketball program during the last four years."


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