Filip Petrusev helped lead Serbia out of the Group Stage of the FIBA U18 European Championships, averaging 21 points, 8.3 rebounds, and two blocked shots along the way. Serbia finished 2-1 and will play Ukraine tomorrow in the first round of the knockout stage.
Joel Ayayi hasn’t been too shabby for France, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5.3 rebounds over three games to push France into the knockout stage, which as I type in this very instant, Ayayi has 26 points and France is down by one point.
Petrusev is averaging 21 points per game, third highest in the tournament so far. He picked up a double-double against Lithuania, and had a +/- of 29 on the court against Great Britan. Most importantly, he is doing it all in a way that should give us lovely flashbacks from some of our other European big men that have rolled their way through. Petrusev is shooting 65 percent from the floor.
He also is one of the top options for Serbia, and when the game is on the line, the team is willing to run the offense through him, as shown by this game winner against Montenegro.
There is a lot to get excited about here. With Brandon Clarke and Killian Tillie primed for the starting roles, there is plenty of backup waiting for Jacob Larsen and Filip Petrusev. The two latter European players definitely play the post in a different style than Clarke and Tillie. Petrusev won’t be stretching the floor, and it will allow the Gonzaga coaching staff to either run a frontcourt that shoots or a frontcourt that pounds. For opposing defenses, it will be hard to keep up with both.
Serbia next plays Ukraine on Wednesday, August 1, at 8:30 am PT. You can live stream the game on FIBA’s YouTube channel.