Ruzhentsev signs with professional team

Mike White will have yet another roster spot to fill for the 2021-22 season. Sophomore guard/forward Samson Ruzhentsev signed a professional contract with KK Mega Basket of the Adriatic Basketball Association. The team is based in Belgrade, Serbia.

Ruzhentsev, originally from Moscow, Russia, starred at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Tennessee. He averaged 19.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a senior and led his team to a 28-3 record. His team won three consecutive National Association of Christian Athletes national championships.

He represented Russia in the U18 FIBA EuroBasket 2019 and averaged 12.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Ruzhentsev, who is 6-foot-7 and weighs 192 pounds, was ranked as one of the top-50 recruits in the class of 2020 and chose Florida over Illinois, Ole Miss and others.

However, things never clicked for him in his only season in Gainesville. He appeared in 20 games and averaged just 7.4 minutes, two points and 0.7 rebounds per game. He committed nine turnovers versus two assists and shot just 34.1 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from distance.

With six players leaving the program after last season, Ruzhentsev was expected to see an uptick in minutes this season. He could’ve played an important role as someone who’s capable of shooting threes, driving to the basket, passing and rebounding.

Instead, he’s opted to return to Eastern Europe and embark on his professional basketball career.

Ethan was born in Gainesville and has lived in the Starke, Florida, area his entire life. He played basketball for five years and knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when he was in middle school. He’s attended countless Gators athletic events since his early childhood, with baseball being his favorite sport to attend. He’s a proud 2019 graduate of the University of Florida and a 2017 graduate of Santa Fe College. He interned with the University Athletic Association’s communications department for 1 ½ years as a student and has spent the last two football seasons writing for InsideTheGators.com. He is a long-suffering fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can follow him on Twitter @ehughes97.