Since the beginning of the season, Filip Petrusev has been attracting the attention of the basketball public of the entire region and filling the notebooks of NBA scouts with his extraordinary performance. The guy who came to Mega Soccerbet from the American University of Gonzaga to have a better springboard for the strongest league in the world, no doubt made the right move. Because, this 20-year-old basketball player provides brilliant games in the ABA league and in tandem with Marko Simonovic, who was chosen as the 44th pick by the Chicago Bulls in the recent draft, takes the most credits ithat Mega is the absolute hit of the regional competition at the top of the standings.

Petrusev is currently by far the most useful player of the ABA League caravan (average index 26.7), the best scorer (23.1 points per match) and the fourth on the list of the most successful rebounders (7.3 rebounds on average). He also played a masterful game in the last round against Split, where, with 32 points scored, he demonstrated all his lavish talent and extremely diverse attacking potential. This 211-centimeter-tall center scored from a variety of situations – with a lot of feelings from the half-sky-hook, he knocked from all ranges and from the “alley-up”, crawled under the guard and hit the second hoop, and shot accurately from a distance (2-2 for three).

– I don’t know what to say except that I was playing that match. I was completely relaxed, without any pressure. I had a break, I didn’t play a competitive game for a month and the only thing I wanted was to go out on the field and play basketball – Petrusev summed up his impressions from the duel with Split and briefly explained what contributed to his excellent performance and PIR 37.

What is noticeable this season is that everything he does under the hoops, Petrusev does it with ease and special elegance, and his behavior on and off the field gives the impression that he is much more mature compared to his age:

– It is possible that I matured earlier, and that was influenced by some life circumstances and the decision to go abroad very early. From the age of 14, I lived alone, first in Spain, then in America, and I had to do some things that, if I had stayed at home with my parents, I would not have even thought about. Also, in America, my younger brother joined me, whom I took care of. I had a sense of great responsibility, that far from home I have to take care of him in the best possible way. It was necessary for me to take care of many things, to make my own decisions with the constant feeling that you will either do everything right or it will not go well. All that probably influenced me to mature earlier, and my mother has a habit of saying that I left home as a child, and after only a few years I returned as an adult – Petrusev points out.

All his teammates, but also those who know him a little better, say that one of Filip Petrusev’s most impressive qualities is his dedication. Basketball, of course.

– Basketball is a beautiful game, probably because it consists of many elements, the game can be influenced with many details, and I try to pay attention to all that. I enjoy playing basketball, but also watching it. And from watching other players, a lot can be learned and so can progress. It’s simple, when I’m on the court with the ball, I feel the most beautiful and that fulfills me, and when I’m not playing it, I enjoy watching basketball and thinking about it. Dedication is a word without which I think there is no success in modern sports, and I was lucky that due to some life circumstances I was so focused on basketball – says Petrusev and then gives an interesting explanation:

– The last two years of high school that I spent in America, I was in educational institutions that are closed. These are high schools like academies, which are preparation for colleges. You live on a campus where strict rules apply and you don’t have the freedom to go out whenever you want. You are closed and you can be in the room to watch movies or play video games. It was a lot more fun for me to train. I had a gym, a gym at my disposal 24 hours a day and I spent all my free time there. I tried to work on myself, to improve my game and that got my blood. The lack of company and some social life practically made me focus entirely on basketball, which turned out to be good for me in the end. In college, however, I also learned to relax a little, lead a somewhat more relaxed lifestyle, because it is necessary to find a balance in everything.

And, with his games at the University of Gonzaga with 17.5 points and eight rebounds on average, after only one season, Petrusev deserved to be in the select company of such aces as Bill Russell, John Stockton, Steve Nash, Ronny Turiaf, Doug Christie … All of them were chosen as the best players of the West Coast conference (this conference includes teams from Washington, Oregon, Utah and California). Nevertheless, Petrusev made a turn and decided to return to Serbia:

– The primary reason was the fact that Mega has become a real factory that produces players for the NBA, and the strongest league in the world is my goal and life dream. The way Gonzaga played I don’t think would allow me to express all my attacking range and I wouldn’t be able to get to the level I wanted. The atmosphere there is different, the players are not in the first place, while in Mega everything is harmonized. There is no doubt that I made the right choice, among other things, because I have one game a week on the program, which leaves me room for quality training. I immediately realized that it was necessary for me to further upgrade my game – says Petrusev and adds:

– For now, everything is going better than I expected and could have imagined at all. I have freedom on the field, I do everything that will help me become a better player. I have great support from the coaches, who are really outstanding and my game has been raised to a higher level. I have good minutes, I completely found myself in Mega’s system and the system of coach Vladimir Jovanovic, when I know from before and with whom I had a great cooperation in the junior national team with which we won gold at the European Championship in Slovakia. The setting of the game with two tall players in tandem with Marko Simonovic suits me, with whom I complement each other very well, as well as Mega’s game with a lot of running and games in transition. In such a system, I can be productive, which the numbers confirm. I play with a lot of confidence, I don’t think about mistakes, I’m focused only on the field, and then you can provide the best.

Petrusev’s good games this season were not missed by the selector Igor Kokoskov, but the young center of Mega still did not make his debut for the senior national team in the November FIBA ​​windows:

– To my great regret, the Corona virus prevented me from doing so. I received a negative test and did all the necessary medical examinations when the team was already in Finland. I am patiently waiting for a second chance, because the jersey with the national team jersey and the debut in the national team is my great wish – Petrusev stated.

As the 12th player in club’s history, Marko Simonovic was recently drafted from Mega’s jersey in the NBA Draft, and Petrusev gave up the draft at the last minute:

– With my agent and people from the club, I estimated that it was the best decision for me at this moment. I started the season well and I’m just in no hurry. I am 20 years old and with such conditions in Mega I can develop and that is why I am convinced that there will be no problems with my draft in the future.

Petrusev and his friends will have a big exam this weekend – a duel with Partizan:

– We expect a very difficult match, for several reasons. They are not in a great situation, they unexpectedly recorded five defeats in nine rounds. For that reason, I am sure that they will be very motivated, and that will certainly raise the level of their already strong defense. Victories are imperative and it will be a very good test for us to see where we are at the moment and whether we can respond with the necessary aggression to their strength. I think that strength is a segment in which we can progress. They are a very high quality and more experienced team, but we will do our best to show that, as against Crvena zvezda, we can deal with everyone in the league on an equal footing, and if the opportunity arises, try to triumph – concluded Petrusev.

Photo: Mega Soccerbet/Ivica Veselinov