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Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj not coming back, to go pro

Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj not coming back, to go pro

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Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj not coming back, to go pro

Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj, left, drives on Houston forward Brison Gresham during their Sweet 16 game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament on March 27 in Indianapolis.

SYRACUSE — Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj is not returning to the Orange for a final season and will seek to play professionally, he announced Wednesday on social media.

“Four years ago, I could have never imagined where I would be right now,” Dolezaj wrote in a post on Twitter. “These were some of the best years of my life and I want to thank Coach Boeheim, Coach Red (Autry), the entire staff, my teammates, and the best fans in basketball for believing in me from the start. I look forward to pursuing the next chapter of my life by playing professional basketball and will be forever Orange.”

Dolezaj had one year of college eligibility remaining due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 6-foot-10, rail-thin native of Slovakia played in 131 games for the Orange and started 83 times over four years, becoming a mainstay in the starting lineup the past two seasons. He averaged 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior and 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds this past season, slowed by a broken finger which limited his effectiveness at the end of the season.

Dolezaj finishes his Syracuse career with 960 points and 649 rebounds.

On Tuesday the Orange announced that Villanova forward Cole Swider has signed a financial aid agreement with Syracuse and will join the men’s basketball program after three seasons with the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Swider appeared in 77 games with 17 starts for the Wildcats and has two years of eligibility remaining. He averaged 5.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and converted 35 of 87 (40.2%) from the arc this past season.

Villanova finished 18-7 and was ranked No. 18 in the final AP poll in mid-March. The Wildcats won NCAA Tournament games against Winthrop and North Texas before losing to eventual champion Baylor in the round of 16.

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