Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Filip Petrusev is reportedly leaving the school to return to his home country of Serbia to play professional basketball for Mega Bamex, per Eurohoops.net.
GU’s breakout star from last season announced in April he would enter the NBA draft process without hiring an agent, a move that allowed him to still return to GU for his junior season. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of the NBA and NCAA basketball seasons is in question, which leaves other GU players such as Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi in unique situations similar to Petrusev.
Petrusev’s stock as an NBA player was not looking favorable; many notable draft experts and websites left the forward off their mock drafts, with many believing that a return to GU was imminent for him. Fellow front court teammate Killian Tillie is slated to possibly fall to the middle of the draft's second round, while the previously mentioned Kispert and Ayayi garnered similar NBA outlooks to Petrusev.
Petrusev averaged a team high 17.8 points per game while also grabbing 7.8 rebounds per game last season en route to earning West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors.
Last summer, Petrusev was dominating with the Serbian U19 team in the 2019 World Cup, as he averaged 19.3 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. He also earned two gold medals for the Serbian U18 teams in EuroBasket.
While GU will certainly miss the high-level production, the team is still looking strong for the future. Sophomore forward Anton Watson looks to bounce back from an injury-riddled freshman year, and redshirt freshman Oumar Ballo is set to make his debut in a Zags uniform.
Sophomore forward Drew Timme now appears to be the lead candidate to fill Petrusev’s role in the starting rotation after he had a productive first year off the bench. The heightened workload may result in a huge leap for Timme, similar to that of Petrusev’s from last season.