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Kispert returning for senior season at GU

by From news and wire services
| August 4, 2020 1:00 AM

SPOKANE — Corey Kispert will not pursue professional options and is returning to Gonzaga for his senior season.

Kispert’s decision, announced by the school Monday, comes two days after guard Joel Ayayi announced he will be back for his junior season in Spokane.

“Returning to school gives me the best opportunity to not only improve my game to be ready for the NBA, but also to give my best and final shot at the national championship that we have been coming so close to for years,” Kispert said in a statement. “I am so excited to get to work with the phenomenal team we have this year.”

A 6-foot-7 small forward, Kispert averaged 13.9 points and led the Zags with 78 3-pointers as a junior. He was part of two Elite Eight teams and helped put Gonzaga in position for a possible No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed before the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gonzaga center Filip Petrusev will not be back after opting to play professionally in Serbia, but coach Mark Few has signed one of the program’s best recruiting classes. The return of Kispert and Ayayi will likely put the Zags among the favorites to win the 2021 national championship.

Kispert was named the DI-AAA ADA Men’s Scholar Athlete of the Year. He was also tabbed USBWA All-District IX, NABC Second Team All-District 9 and WCC First Team. He earned Academic All-Conference honors for the second straight season. The business administration major has a 3.43 GPA. He has helped the Zags win 95 of the 105 games he has played in.

The Edmonds, Wash., native was a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. He has helped Gonzaga go 48-2 in West Coast Conference play with three league regular season titles.

“Simply put, this has been the most difficult decision I have been faced with in my 21 years. Along with everyone else, my life was halted for months while the country dealt with and still deals with a pandemic that makes the future completely unsure,” Kispert said in a statement released by GU.

“Going through the draft process was something that I will always be grateful for. I learned so much not only about myself as a player, but myself as a person too. The feedback was extremely positive, and many teams saw me fitting in with their teams right away. They were honest and respectful in their feedback of my game, and I cannot thank them enough for their words.

“What I take away most from the draft process is that my goals are right on my doorstep. Playing and succeeding in the NBA has always been the biggest dream in my life, and thanks to the feedback I received, going forward and making those dreams a reality is a very real possibility for me this year.

“However, with that being said, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have some unfinished business to attend to ... I look forward to playing for the greatest basketball fans and community in the country. We will see you all very soon.”