Petar Rusic’s Perseverance Puts Him Back On NCAA Radar

Injuries are an inevitable part of sports. Some may take you out of the game for good, while others you make a full recovery from and return stronger. Petar Rusic has been through two basketball lapses in his young career that many thought he would not return from. Today, he’s back on the floor in full effect, suiting up for 22 Ft Academy in Jackson, Kentucky and is still the sniper that we’ve been tracking since his days in Oakville, Ontario at Loyola.

Petar Rusic

Coaches and scouts learned so much about his intangible traits while seeing him as a Sophomore in the finals at OFSAA; when the Loyola Hawks went up against Andrew Wiggins and the Vaughan Voyageurs in 2011. His composure and determination in the biggest moments of his Canadian high school career were what set him apart and exhibited his character.

Rusic has been a premier shooter in Canada regardless of graduating class, and he stays true to his reputation south of the border as well, whether launching off the dribble or coming off of screens, his accuracy is very high and acts as a perimeter weapon for any team.

Rusic has been on a tiresome journey, first heading out to Findlay Prep in what was the opportunity he was awaiting, playing alongside fellow Canadians Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Nick Madray (Binghamton) and Matt Willms (UTEP). Unfortunately, this opportunity was taken away as a result of a second knee injury; the first being in grade nine.

The mindset that Rusic took after he was out a second time with an ACL injury demonstrates what type of reaction to expect in the face of adversity.

“I’ve been through this once and I know I can get through it again. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get this scholarship.”

The Serbian sniper has garnered NCAA interest from West Viriginia, Purdue, Morehead State, and St. Bonaventure to name a few.

It’s been over a year now since his return and things are feeling normal for him again.

“Mentally, is always the biggest step, because you know, it’s always tough coming off an injury, because mentally you got to get things straight. However, I can feel that I’m moving better especially defensively, I’m not thinking about it as much, I’m stronger and in better shape that’s for sure.”

His most recent visit has been to Morehead State, while West Virginia has shown high interest by attending team practices and games.

Petar Rusic Pull Up Jumper | Photo Courtesy: Nick Falzerano

NCAA schools recruiting Rusic are acquiring a three point specialist, with, shooting range, great court sense and a growing ability to create off the dribble and get in the paint for floaters. He is the true definition of a zone buster, and is working towards making sure that he is ready to be more than just that at the next level.

NPH had an opportunity to see him over the summer on the AAU circuit in Las Vegas where Rusic was seven months back and was ready to show he’s still got it; the truth is, he never lost it.

Head coach of 22ft Academy, Ryan Schmidt, has a lot of confidence in Rusic, as the team sets up a lot of half court sets to put their shooter in opportunities where he can let off rounds from his barrel.

Well aware of his shooting ability he looks to grow in other areas in the off season.

“Anyone who’s recruiting me knows that I can shoot and spread the floor, but I’m going to be able to get major minutes in college if I can be a strong defender. You have to be able to defend,” Rusic told NPH.

“I just want to find the school that’s the best fit. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of interest from some good schools and things seem to be picking up.”

Rusic has been on a tough road while working to reach his goal of playing Division 1 basketball and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He is a 185lbs of perseverance and has willed his way into getting on the radar of NCAA programs.


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