In this December 2019 photo, Connecticut's Tyler Polley (right) is pressured by Nedeljko Prijovic of the University of Maine. Credit: Jessica Hill / AP

Nedeljko Prijovic of the University of Maine has decided to forgo his senior season with the Black Bears to sign a professional basketball contract.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Belgrade, Serbia, who last month was selected by head coach Richard Barron as a team captain, plans to play in his home country.

Barron said Prijovic has compelling reasons to step away from his college career.

“He didn’t come to his decision lightly. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on his family, including the loss of a loved one,” Barron said. “That, coupled with the uncertainty of an NCAA season and the opportunity to immediately provide financial support to his family, were compelling reasons for him to return home.”

Prijovic ranked third on the team in scoring last season with 11.7 points per game and was the Black Bears’ No. 2 rebounder (5.5 per contest). He also finished third on the squad in assists (49), steals (34) and blocked shots.

He was the only UMaine player to appear in all 31 games and made 30 starts during the 2019-2020 campaign. He ranked third on the team, logging 30.8 minutes per game.

Prijovic had sat out the previous season under NCAA transfer rules. He played two seasons at Texas State after attending Lee Academy.

“Nedja is on track to graduate after this fall term, and we fully expect him to finish that work and join our alumni ranks,” Barron said. “He has done well in our classes and was a significant contributor to our program during his time in Orono. We all will miss him, and wish him and his family all the best.”

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...