Gonzaga center leaves program, focuses on academics

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Gonzaga sophomore Jacob Larsen has left the basketball program, the school announced over the weekend.

After playing limited minutes last season as a redshirt freshman, Larsen has opted to focus on his education. He will remain on scholarship at the school.

“He’s not with our team right now,” head coach Mark Few told the Spokesman Review. “He has some things going on personally that he needs to address. We’re 100 percent behind him, helping him every which way we can. … Hopefully, it’ll end up being a great story.”

Larsen, who averaged 2.9 points last year, is a 6-foot-11 center from Denmark who was a fairly high level prospect for the Zags. But he tore his ACL heading into his freshman season in 2016-17 and was forced to take a redshirt. Last season, he was playing 15 minutes per game early in the year, but those minutes started shrinking as the season progressed. There were question about whether or not he would be able to beat out freshman Filip Petrusev for a role as the fourth-big in this rotation, behind Rui Hachimura, Killian Tillie and Brandon Clarke.

Larsen has also dealt with tragedy in his life. His older brother, Rasmus, was considered a potential NBA first round pick and earned the nickname “Danish Dirk” but he tragically passed away in May of 2015. He was found dead in his bed after missing a meeting prior to a game with his club team in Belgium.