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Sept. 9, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE – The University of Virginia men’s basketball team is ranked 19th in Slam Magazine‘s preseason ranking of the Top 20 Division I teams in the nation.

Kansas is the top team in the ranking followed by Arizona, Duke, Oklahoma, Texas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Florida, Michigan State and Alabama. Xavier is ranked 11th followed by Oregon, UCLA, Mississippi State, Connecticut, Marquette, Villanova, Maryland, Virginia and Syracuse.

Virginia has seven lettermen on its 2002-03 roster including 6-8 senior All-America candidate Travis Watson. Watson, a forward/center, led the Atlantic Coast Conference in four statistical categories last season and was a second-team All-ACC selection. He led the ACC in rebounding (272, 9.7 rpg.), double-doubles (17), offensive rebounds (3.43 pg.) and defensive rebounds (6.29 pg.). Watson, who averaged 14.1 points a game last season, also ranked fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (149-284, 52.5 percent) and tied for tenth in blocked shots (26, 0.93 pg.).

Other lettermen on the roster include sophomore forward Elton Brown, sophomore forward Jason Clark, sophomore guard Jermaine Harper, sophomore guard Keith Jenifer, red-shirt junior guard Majestic Mapp and senior center/forward Jason Rogers.

Guard Todd Billet (Rutgers) and center Nick Vander Laan (California-Berkeley) are eligible to play for the Cavaliers during the 2002-03 season after transferring to Virginia prior to the 2001-02 academic year. Also joining the UVa team this year are sophomore guard/forward Devin Smith from Coffeyville Community College and freshman forward Derrick Byars.

Virginia was 17-12 last season and participated in the National Invitation Tournament.

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