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Former Gonzaga standout Filip Petrusev withdraws from NBA draft

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 10, 2020

In this Feb. 27, 2020 photo, Gonzaga forward Filip Petrusev (3) shoots during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash. (Young Kwak)
In this Feb. 27, 2020 photo, Gonzaga forward Filip Petrusev (3) shoots during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash. (Young Kwak)

Former Gonzaga forward Filip Petrusev has pulled his name from the NBA draft, according to Eurohoops.net.

Petrusev initially said he would stay in the draft when he confirmed in July he was leaving GU to begin his pro career with Mega Bemax in his native Serbia. He reiterated his intention to stay in the draft last month during an interview with The Spokesman-Review.

Petrusev was projected as a second-round pick in some mock drafts and almost certainly would have had free-agent opportunities if he went undrafted. He was one of 21 international players this week to withdraw from the draft, including Mega Bemax teammates Nikola Miskovic and Darko Bajo, Eurohoops.net reported. Teammate Marko Simonovic opted to stay in the draft.

Petrusev is off to a strong start through six games of his rookie season. The 6-foot-11 post is averaging 21.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He’s shooting 57.5% from the field and 75.7% at the free-throw line. He said last month one of the reasons he left Gonzaga was to have more opportunities to show his perimeter game, but he’s struggled behind the 3-point arc (2 of 14).

The Belgrade native received an invite to the NBA’s virtual combine, but he told The Spokesman-Review he wouldn’t participate because he believed it was more beneficial if NBA organizations watched his Mega Bemax games and scrimmages against high-level European competition.

Petrusev said last month he wasn’t sure what he would do if he was drafted. He said he’d have to assess an NBA opportunity versus remaining with Mega Bemax.

Petrusev was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year and earned All-American recognition after averaging 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds last season as a sophomore. He connected on 56.2% of his field-goal attempts, 65.5% at the foul line and 18.2% (2 of 11) on 3-pointers. His 238 free-throw attempts were fourth most nationally.

Killian Tillie is the only former Zag in this year’s draft, scheduled for Nov. 18. Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi declared for the draft before deciding to return to school.

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