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Former USF basketball player signs with Memphis Grizzlies

Because of Damon Stoudamire’s knee injury late last month, the Memphis Grizzlies decided to sign guard and former USF basketball player Chucky Atkins on Monday.

Atkins joined the Grizzlies in Miami where they play the Heat on Tuesday night.

The seven-year veteran was averaging 6.7 points and 2.5 assists with the Washington Wizards before they agreed to a buyout of his $4.5 million contract on Jan. 18. He wanted more playing time in Washington, after coming off a year with the L.A. Lakers in which he played in all 82 games and set career highs of 13.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 35.4 minutes per game.

Atkins will help take pressure off Bobby Jackson, who is averaging 26.1 minutes per game and played a season-high 42 minutes in a loss at Philadelphia last week.

“Chucky is a veteran point guard, and he fills our need for an added leader in the backcourt,” Jerry West, the Grizzlies’ director of basketball operations, told the Associated Press. “He will be a great addition to our team, and we are happy he was available and eager to come to Memphis.”

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound guard has career averages of 10.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 481 games, including 252 starts over seven seasons. Atkins is fifth on the men’s all-time scoring list at USF with 1,619 points.

Atkins, 31, is currently the only former USF player in the NBA.The Orlando native was originally brought into the league as a free agent with the Orlando Magic by current Celtics coach Doc Rivers during the 1999-00 season and also has spent time with the Detroit Pistons (2000-04) and Boston Celtics (2003-04).