PROVO -- Though Mark Michaelis insists he still loves BYU, the 6-foot-10 junior has opted to play the remainder of his college basketball at the University of Oregon.

Michaelis will redshirt this season and have two years of eligibility remaining when he becomes eligible in 2000-2001."Leaving BYU was a personal choice. It's on good terms, no questions there," said Michaelis. "It was just time for me to move on, and Oregon seems like a good fit."

Ducks coach Ernie Kent, who already has former University of Utah player David Jackson and Pine View High School product Ben Lindquist in his program, acted quickly when Michaelis was granted his release by BYU. Michaelis, who averaged 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in 28 games with the Cougars last season, made an almost immediate recruiting trip to Eugene and liked what he saw.

He chose to switch locales after meeting with BYU coach Steve Cleveland last Monday. After seeing limited action on a five-game tour of Europe, Michaelis asked Cleveland about his future in the program -- to see exactly where and if he fit into the plans. Following the discussion, Michaelis sought and received his release from BYU officials.

"Everybody has different needs and desires," said Cleveland. "It was his decision. We talked, and he wanted a better opportunity to play."

Before enrolling at BYU, the former Taylorsville High star played a season at Utah Valley State College and served an LDS mission in New York. He was projected to compete for playing time behind junior Mekeli Wesley and senior Bret Jepsen this fall.

Michaelis, whose aunt is long-time BYU volleyball coach Elaine Michaelis, plans to use his redshirt year as a means to make himself bigger and stronger. He's already added 17 pounds since last season.

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