Gonzaga is on the scoreboard in the 2018 class with a commitment from Filip Petrusev, a talented 6-foot-11 forward from Serbia.
Petrusev announced his commitment Sunday on his Twitter account.
“That’s a big-time basketball school, especially for big guys and international guys,” Petrusev said in a phone interview. “They have a great history with them. It’s perfect for me as a big guy that plays inside and outside.
“That’s one of the things that I was looking for and also they develop guys really well. They’ve put a lot of guys in the NBA the last few years.”
Petrusev attended school in Connecticut last year but he said he was injured and didn’t play basketball. He will play his last prep season at national power Montverde (Florida) Academy. He’s considered one of the top young prospects in Europe after a strong performance at the U18 European Championships last summer.
Gonzaga has had several forward/centers since 2012, including Canadians Kelly Olynyk and Robert Sacre, Lithuanian Domantas Sabonis and Las Vegas native Zach Collins, drafted and make NBA rosters. Polish center Przemek Karnowski exited Gonzaga as the NCAA’s all-time wins leader.
“I’ve been following them,” Petrusev said. “Sabonis was in Spain when I was there so I was really following him. I know a couple of guys there now, (France’s) Joel Ayayi, he’s my age, and (Killian) Tillie.”
Petrusev is the first member of GU’s 2018 class. Forward Brandon Clarke is sitting out this season after transferring from San Jose State and will be eligible next season. Gonzaga has two 2019 commitments: guard Brock Ravet and Gonzaga Prep forward Anton Watson.
Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd has helped the Zags become a force recruiting international players.
“He was always honest with me and pretty straight forward,” Petrusev said. “He told me what I can expect and what their plans are for me.”
Petrusev said he had scholarship offers from at least 20 schools. He said his finalists were Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Charlotte. The latter has an assistant coach, Ivo Simovic, from Serbia.
“It’s been really busy, a bunch of calls every day, five or six coaches coming down,” Petrusev said. “I was really into that and couldn’t really focus on practice and school. Now I can be relaxed and enjoy Monteverde.”
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