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'It’s been basketball-wise my best year': After MVP season abroad, former Zag Filip Petrusev ready for NBA Draft

Filip Petrusev opted to play in Serbia this season over returning to the Zags or declaring for the NBA draft. The decision has certainly worked out.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga has never had more than two players drafted into the NBA in the same year. 

This year, they’ll have three in Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi-- but really it’s more like four if you count Filip Petrusev.

This time last year all eyes in the college basketball world were on Filip and if he would return to Gonzaga or declare for the NBA Draft. 

Instead, he caught everyone by surprise and ended up playing in Serbia. 

Now he’s a lock to hear his name called on July 29.

"It’s been basketball-wise my best year so far ever in my life," said Petrusev to KREM.

Filip was named MVP of his league in Europe while averaging 23.7 points per game, six more points per game than he averaged his sophomore year at Gonzaga.

One of the reasons why his point total went up was because his shooting percentage from the three-point line grew. Filip made 26 threes and shot 42% from beyond the arc this season, compared to just two threes on 18% shooting in his sophomore campaign at Gonzaga.

"My perimeter skills, especially shooting, which obviously I wasn’t doing much at GU," said Filip when asked what he improved upon the most this year. "Threes, midrange, all that. Just building my game from that because I knew I was going to need that for the next level and this team allowed me to do it."

Even though Petrusev was focused on his game in Serbia, that didn’t mean he stopped keeping track of the Zags. 

He really enjoyed watching the team when he could and said he watched every NCAA Tournament game.

"They really played the most attractive basketball out of everybody. You know, usually what GU does, but this year even more. They took it to the next level with all that transition. They were flying around and everywhere," said Filip.

Soon enough, he’ll be reunited with a few of his former teammates at the next level. Petrusev is looking forward to that.

"A lot of fun for sure and a lot of trash talk, especially with Joel," said Filip with a chuckle of what it will be like to play against his former Gonzaga teammates. "I kind of missed them a little bit last year so it’s going to be fun to see them, maybe on the same team even, you never know. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Those are my guys, you know?"

And him and his guys will hear their names called in the draft just a few months. 

Mock Drafts online have Filip going as high as 26th (Tankathon.com) or as low as 52nd (The Athletic), but no matter where he gets picked, it seems safe to say he will get picked.

When that happens, Filip isn’t sure how he’ll react.

"I’ve been through a lot to get there and away from home for like six years up until this year. It’s definitely going to be emotional hearing your name and all those emotions coming up at the same time. We’ll see," said Filip.

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