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Monday, March 21, 2005
Updated: March 22, 1:06 PM ET
Sophomore averaged team-high 13.6 points

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

Connecticut forward Charlie Villanueva is expected to declare for the NBA draft and not return for his junior season, a member of UConn's coaching staff said Monday.

Charlie Villanueva
Charlie Villanueva, a skilled big man, appears to be leaving UConn after two seasons.

Two years ago, Villanueva declared for the NBA draft out of New Jersey's Blair Academy but then withdrew his name and chose to accept a scholarship to UConn. The NCAA allows players to declare for the draft and retain their amateur status only one time during their careers.

Villanueva, who attended a team meeting Monday on campus, has until May 14 to formally declare for the draft.

The 6-foot-11 Villanueva averaged a team-high 13.6 points and was second in rebounding average (8.3 per game). Connecticut, last year's national champion, was eliminated Sunday from the NCAA Tournament by North Carolina State in the second round in Worcester, Mass.

Villanueva played in all 31 games as a sophomore; he played in 32 games during the Huskies' national championship season in 2003-04. Villanueva sat out the first six games of his freshman season while the NCAA investigated who paid for his NBA pre-draft workout in Chicago.

The Huskies likely will be picked as one of the top teams in the nation in 2005-06 with an expected starting lineup of Josh Boone, Rudy Gay, Denham Brown, Marcus Williams and either A.J. Price or Rashad Anderson. Price is expected to return next season and retain his freshman eligibility after sitting out this season, the result of a brain hemorrhage.

Senior writer Andy Katz covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com.