In the news: Serbian big man Filip Petrusev commits to Gonzaga 22 Oct 22:59
Filip Petrusev, a 6-11 big man from Serbia who is considered one of the top young prospects in European basketball, has committed to play for Gonzaga, he told ESPN on Sunday.
"They are a big-time basketball school with great tradition, especially with international big men," Petrusev told ESPN. "They develop players very well and make the NCAA tournament every year."
Petrusev picked Gonzaga over scholarship offers from a number of Power 5 programs, including Kansas, Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Arizona, Creighton, Illinois, Indiana, Stanford and Texas Tech.
He played a key role in helping Serbia win the U18 European Championship this summer, averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes en route to being named the fourth-best NBA prospect at the U18s.
Petrusev attended the NBA Basketball Without Borders Camp in Tel Aviv, and he recently enrolled at Montverde Academy in Florida, where he will play alongside R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 recruit in the 2018 ESPN 100.
At 225 pounds, Petrusev is a highly skilled and versatile big man who is capable of playing either power forward or center. He is an excellent shooter, passer and ball handler who showed impressive potential defensively with the Serbian national team this summer.
Spearheaded by assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga has developed a rich history with recruiting international players, sending big men such as Ronny Turiaf (France), Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania), Kelly Olynyk (Canada), Robert Sacre (Canada) and Elias Harris (Germany) to the NBA.
"It's one of the reasons I like Gonzaga so much," Petrusev told ESPN. "It is a privilege, and also gives me motivation to follow their steps and maybe end up like them one day. I see myself fitting perfectly in their system. It reminds me a lot of Europe, always with two big guys, allowing them to play both inside and outside, which will allow me to reach my full potential."
The Bulldogs are in need of a big man capable of making a major impact next season, as they will be losing senior power forward Johnathan Williams, the anchor of their defense. Gonzaga is coming off its best season in program history, going 37-2 and losing to North Carolina in NCAA tournament championship game.