Posted: Wed March 13, 2013 5:45PM; Updated: Wed March 13, 2013 5:43PM

VCU: D.J. Haley leaves program to focus on studies

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VCU junior D.J. Haley (center) has left the team in order to focus on his academic interests.
VCU junior D.J. Haley (center) has left the team in order to focus on his academic interests.
Jeff Roberson/AP

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- VCU says reserve center D.J. Haley has left the men's basketball program to focus on academic interests.

Coach Shaka Smart made the announcement Wednesday, two days before the No. 25 Rams' debut in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.

Smart says the junior from Palmdale, Calif., indicated "his heart is no longer invested in basketball" and he wishes him the best.

The 7-foot, 250-pound Haley has played in 102 games for VCU, starting 48 times. He averaged 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds. He averaged just 5.7 minutes in conference games this season, often entering for short bursts to give starting big man Juvonte Reddic a rest.

Earlier this season, Haley took a leave of absence from the Rams for personal reasons. No explanation of his absence was ever given.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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