Gonzaga loses likely preseason All-American Filip Petrusev to overseas pro career

Gonzaga’s best player has left the program for good.  A source confirmed Monday to CBS Sports that big man Filip Petrusev will not return. Petrusev is instead opting to chase a professional career and has signed with Serbian program Mega Bemax, according to a report from overseas outlet nova.rs.

Petrusev is the only Gonzaga player not on campus, the source said. The team began official workouts in a light capacity on Monday, as it’s the first day the NCAA allowed a return to sanctioned team activity with coaches and players. The source said Gonzaga’s staff was unaware of Petrusev’s final decision to not return to school until it saw the overseas report surface on Twitter Monday. Petrusev left Gonzaga’s campus in June. 

While Petrusev’s departure is significant, it’s far from devastating. The 6-foot-11 sophomore center averaged 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds last season, but Gonzaga is stocked with a roster still capable of being among the best in the sport. What this means most specifically is sophomore big Drew Timme will be tasked with all the more minutes and opportunities down low. 

Timme (9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) now becomes the most obvious breakout-player candidate in the sport. 

Gonzaga is still ranked No. 1 in Gary Parrish’s Top 25 And 1, even with Filip Petrusev gone. The Bulldogs went 31-2 last season, their loss total tied with Dayton and San Diego State for the fewest in the sport. Gonzaga would have certainly been a No. 1 seed in March, and if college basketball can have something of a regular season for 2020-21, their chances of being among the best in the sport are still high. Gonzaga brings in its highest-rated recruit ever, 2020 top-10 prospect Jalen Suggs, and should bring back Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert, both of whom put their name into the draft pool in the spring. 

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