Marek Dolezaj forgoes extra eligibility, will pursue playing professionally

Marek Dolezaj forgoes extra eligibility, will pursue playing professionally

Senior forward says four years at Syracuse were "some of the best years of my life."
Published: April 7, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19: The Syracuse Orange takes on the San Diego State Aztecs in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I MenÕs Basketball Tournament held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
The Syracuse Orange takes on the San Diego State Aztecs in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 19, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Men’s basketball senior forward Marek Dolezaj announced Wednesday that he will not return to Syracuse for a fifth season and has instead elected to pursue a career in professional basketball. He forgoes an extra year of eligibility granted to athletes whose seasons were impacted by the pandemic.

“Four years ago, I could have never imagined where I would be right now,” Dolezaj said in a statement on social media. “These were some of the best years of my life and I want to thank Coach Boeheim, Coach Red, 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 played in 131 total games and cemented a spot as a starter in his final two seasons. He was part of the starting lineup for the Orange in 83 contests. Despite being impacted by injuries — a broken finger and a chipped tooth — this season, Dolezaj finished with averages of 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds. His career averages are 7.3 points and five rebounds.

The 23-year-old senior stepped up during his final season after starting center Bourama Sidibe sat out most of the season due to knee injuries. Dolezaj then became a star across social media for not only chipping his tooth and returning to play shortly after, but for a passionate love of pizza that emerged in the second half of the season.

Dolezaj finished his career at Syracuse with 960 total points and 649 rebounds. Off the court, he will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in selective studies in education from the School of Education.

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is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse.