The most dominant non-power conference team in college basketball took a hit today with the announcement that Filip Petrusev is leaving Gonzaga for a professional Serbian team. While the Bulldogs will still have plenty of talent this upcoming season, the loss of Petrusev can’t be understated. He was set to be a preseason All-American.
While he is signing with a pro team in Serbia, it is also still possible Petrusev stays in the NBA Draft. Either way though, he’s not returning to Gonzaga.
Filip Petrusev Leaving Gonzaga for Serbia
Petrusev, a Serbian native, came to Gonzaga from Montverde Academy in Florida. He came as a top-100 recruit, and it was obvious his freshman season how much talent was there.
However, his talent in his first season didn’t translate into huge numbers. He was playing on a very deep team and only saw 11.4 minutes per game. In that time he scored 6.5 points per game while grabbing 2.7 rebounds per game. However, his sophomore season is when it all clicked.
In his second and last season in Spokane, the talented forward made the jump to West Coast Conference Player of the Year. He did that while averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Petrusev put those numbers up in 33 games while averaging 25.9 minutes per night. He also shot 56.2-percent from the floor.
Impact on Gonzaga
Make no mistake about it, this is a big loss for Mark Few and his program. They’ll still more than likely be heavy favorites in the West Coast Conference. However, this will hurt when it comes to their aspirations of winning a national title.
If they needed Petrusev to play more minutes last season he easily could’ve averaged 22-24 points per game. He’s a little bit of a throwback big as someone who can just post up and go to work on defenders and finish with touch. Defenses aren’t always equipped to handles players like that in today’s basketball world, which is what made him even more difficult to guard.
This will put more pressure on Drew Timme, who was strong for Gonzaga last season off the bench. It will also likely mean an increased role for Oumar Ballo, who came in as a four-star recruit but didn’t play last season as a freshman.
Again, Gonzaga should be more than fine in conference play, especially if they get Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi to withdraw from the NBA Draft. But if they want to win a national title, they will have a good amount of post production to replace from last season.
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