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Gonzaga's Petrusev to skip last 2 years, turn professional

Gonzaga's Petrusev to skip last 2 years, turn professional

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — West Coast Conference player of the year Filip Petrusev announced Monday that he will pursue a professional career and not return for his final two years at Gonzaga, citing uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the upcoming college basketball season.

Petrusev tweeted that while his goal is to play in the NBA, he has signed with Mega Bemax of Serbia.

Petrusev averaged a team-high 17.8 points per game, which ranked third in the West Coast Conference last season.

The sophomore led the league in shooting at 56.5% from the field and was second in the league with 7.7 rebounds per game.

The native of Belgrade, Serbia, reached double-digit scoring in all but two games. He reached at least 20 points a team-high nine times in 2019-20, including a career-high 31 points in a win at Santa Clara.

“We wish Filip all the best,” coach Mark Few said. “He improved tremendously with our program and had a great two-year run here.”

Petrusev was named one of five finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award last season and was a third-team All-American.

Petrusev helped the Bulldogs qualify for their 22nd straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2019-20. Gonzaga finished the shortened season at 31-2.

“It was unfortunate that we didn’t get the chance to compete in the NCAA tournament and possibly win the national championship,'' Petrusev said in a news release. ”We are facing unprecedented times and none of us has a great deal of clarity for what lies ahead, resulting in the uncertainty regarding the upcoming NCAA basketball season.''