Ex-Villanoa guard reportedly headed to Aces

Former Villanova University guard Mislav Brzoja is reportedly transferring to the University of Evansville to play basketball. Aces head coach Marty Simmons could not be reached Friday to confirm the 6-foot-4 Brzoja has been offered a scholarship, but Brzoja’s prep school coach Dave Jamerson of Trader’s Point Christian Academy in Whitestown, Ind., told the Indianapolis Star that the native of Croatia plans to enroll at Evansville. Because of NCAA transfer rules, Brzoja would not be eligible to play for the Aces until the 2014-15 season and would have three years of eligibility. He was granted his release from Villanova on Thursday despite coming off a strong performance in the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in the Czech Republic. Brzoja was the second-leading scorer for a Croatia team that lost in the quarterfinals. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds over nine games while making 40 percent of his 3-point attempts (16 of 40). In the 2012 U18 European Championships, he helped lead Croatia to the gold medal while averaging 15.0 points and 2.9 rebounds. As a freshman at Villanova last season, however, Brzoja only played 41 minutes in 17 appearances, scoring just two points and adding four assists and six rebounds. “He is interested in pursuing a more prominent role with another program and we support his decision,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “We want what’s best for Mislav.” After helping Trader’s Point to a 24-3 record and a state Christian school title two years ago, Brzoja originally committed to Northwestern but wasn’t admitted because of issues with his Croatian school records. The NCAA later verified his eligibility and he signed with Villanova. At UE, he would join a pair of Lithuanian players in Egidijus Mockevicius and Rokas Cesnulevicius.

Note: UE sports information directior Bob Pristash didn’t know anything about Mislav Brzoja  commiting to the Aces when I called him earlier today. Marty Simmons didn’t return any calls. However, after leaving a second message for Simmons I got another call from Pristash. Still no confirmation, but you can connect those dots. I’m guessing UE will confirm Brzoja’s addition within the next couple of weeks. Classes begin Aug. 28.

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