One of the rising stars of basketball and a member of the platinum generation of Bosnian basketball talents did an interview with Eurobasket.com and shared some of his insight into his meteoric rise to the heights of basketball stardom. It was an a fairytale of a year for Jusuf Nurkic from relative unknown going into the season to a breakout series of games in the Nike International Junior Tournament in Belgrade were the world was first exposed to the talents of a 17 year old wunderkind Jusuf Nurkic. He then got permission to join and proudly accepted the chance to represent BiH at the under 18 European championships division B. The Bosnian team, which had never been in division A before stormed through the competition going 7-1 with the only loss being by just two points. The team handled the competition in the playoff rounds handily, played with skill and composure and were led by the dominating presence of Jusuf Nurkic. Jusuf went on to average 19ppg 13rbpg 1apg 2stlpg 2blkpg and was the undisputed leader of the team and was voted MVP of the competition. In a surprising and bold move Coach Aleksander Petrovic added three member of the BiH Junior team to the senior team Adin Vrabac, Nedim Buza and Jusuf Nurkic. Even though Jusuf didnt play a ton of minutes in the series he was inserted into games at key points and played a pivotal role in two games, his debut against Netherlands in Sarajevo brought the crowd to their feet. His play in limited minutes in a crucial victory against Georgia helped bring the team back from the brink of defeat. Jusuf is a well-grounded young man who just turned 18 during the Eurobasket games last month. The sky is the limit if he continues to work hard and has the passion to be the best at his craft and get everything out of his immensely talented body that he has been blessed with. Few players ever experience such a meteoric rise; even fewer handle it with such grace and composure Q) How did you get introduced to playing basketball? At what age did you start playing? A) First so it is very accidentally happened. The man that is my agent, believed I could do something I guess and I am all super thankful for that. Unfortunately there was a lot of ridicule on this account but here I managed to at least accomplish something good. I started to train in basketball in 2009.
Q) You have tremendous size for such a young player; did your parents play basketball? A) I did not know that I would grow so much; the parents did not play basketball. Dad tried something in the then Sloboda Dita Tuzla but he had problems with his sneakers and could not play.
Q) You had a breakout series at the Nike Invitational Junior Tournament in Belgrade and averaged 18ppg 11rbpg and 2 blpg and everyone took notice. How does it feel to be a rising star of basketball? A) In Belgrade that was the first time in career I got a chance and I think I took it. It was nice to be noticed in Belgrade of course to me it fits, but it's important to be firmly on the ground, especially when it comes to young players.
Q) You had a very busy 2012 and it seems handled it all like a professional, looking back did you learn anything for these experiences? A) That was really hard but it's definitely an amazing experience to be in that time with such great players, it can of course only be used as a positive and of course I learned a lot.
Q) What are you goals for this 2012-13 Club season, both personally and professionally? A) For this season, I want to more advanced challenges and debut with club and have every opportunity to use it (what I have learned).
Q) What was the most memorable experience from this past season and summer? A) Certainly the most interesting moment to me is of course playing with the others on the team and for wearing the national jersey Bosnia. In Georgia when we get them in front of nine thousand fans and I spent the decisive minutes on the court is really inexplicable.
Q) Both National Teams of BiH the U18 and Senior Team appeared to put personal goals aside and the focus was on the greater good and sacrifice for the team. How that was made possible? A) Yes, it really was successful U18 to get first place and move in the A division and that none of the predecessors in BiH managed to do so and we have even been the first is really great. Coach Aleksandar Petrovic placed us on the European map as well, we ended up first in the group proved everything all coincided.
Q) How did it feel to accomplish so much with the BiH Teams this summer? A) The feeling is really extra special because I'm training for the first time the national team jersey and really such a success that I could've expected but all at once the dreams are fulfilled.
Q) Everyone likes to talk about your scoring and rebounding, I was most impressed with the run the team went on in Georgia when they inserted you into the lineup, it seemed to give the team energy and changed the momentum of the game, how important is defensive improvements to you? A) I do not know if someone loves you, but I honestly do not like to talk about myself or that I praise myself for my work. As for Georgia, so many problems, and sleeplessness, but we have found a formula for victory and got them I think the young players when they entered the court must be verified through the defense and of course to bring this positive energy into what I hope is successful.
Q) Who was your favorite player from the former Yugoslavia playing basketball? What about NBA? A) Of course they are the famous Mirza Delibasic and Vlade Divac..As far as the NBA right now is certainly dwight howard.
Q) Who is the one professional athlete you would pay to watch play their sport? A) The magnificent Michael Jordan,
Q) What do you like to do with your time away from basketball? A) In my free time socializing with family and society
Q) What music are you listening to these days? A) Mostly folk music like Dino Merlin Zdravko Colic ...or so say Balkan music
Q) What do you consider to be your greatest strengths? A) I think I have some different elements but mostly being a force under the basket.
Q) Do you have a favorite NBA team? NBA player? A) Of course, my favorites are the small club, Los Angeles Lakers.
Q) Are you interested in joining Mirza Teletovic in the NBA someday? A) Mirza's really a player who deserves to be given a chance out in the NBA and I believe he will be one of the key players the Nets.
Q) How do you keep a level head when expectations for you have gone sky high? A) Of course all are predicting something and I keep to myself and for now I think I'm on the right track you just have to be normal like everyone else.
Q) It is always so hard to predict what an 18 year old kid will turn out to be professionally, you have the size, skill and athleticism to be an excellent professional basketball player. The best basketball players in the world have a burning passion to dominate and be the best; do you feel you have that same competitive fire? A) I agree very much there is excellent talent in the world but very few of them fail to make a great career and I will try to get the most out of myself, so whatever it was at the end and we shall see.
Q) Do you think the success of BiH basketball will continue into the future and build upon what has been started this season? A) At last I am absolutely sure the right people are in the right place to live for the bh.kosarku and no doubt will continue to be so.
Q) I like to say youre a mini version of Arvydas Sabonis, because of your size, shooting range, passing ability, rebounding and surprising athleticism. Sabonis is considered one, if not the best centers of all time. Have you ever seen footage of him play, especially before all the leg injuries slowed him down? A) Sabonis was really big and it was hard to compare anyone with a man who has had a career that he had. I only can dream of what he could have become if not for all of his injuries if he played and had stayed healthy, in any case I can say congratulations to him for his career.
Lazar Mutic (200-F-99) has been selected for the Basketball Without Borders camp organized by The National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Finnish Basketball Association (FBA). Basketball without Borders (BWB) Europe will be held from 7-10 September at Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja. BWB Europe will bring together the top male players born in 1999 from across Europe to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches... [read more]
Lazar Mutic (200-F-99) has been selected for the Basketball Without Borders camp organized by The National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Finnish Basketball Association (FBA). Basketball without Borders (BWB) Europe will be held from 7-10 September at Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja. BWB Europe will bring together the top male players born in 1999 from across Europe to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches and to compete against the best young players from the continent. BWB Europe will also include a Jr. NBA camp for local youth and NBA Cares community outreach efforts teaching the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and the values of the game, including teamwork, integrity and respect. Lazar Mutic is currently member of HM Hospitales Torrelodones and also member of Bosnia and Herzegovina U17 NT. In 2015 he won the European Championship with BH U16.
Igokea lands Blaz Mahkovic, ex Un.Olimpija - 1 day ago
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Defending champion BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Division I) tabbed 26-year old Slovenian international forward Blaz Mahkovic (201-90). He has played for the last two years at Un.Olimpija in Slovenian Liga Nova KBM. Mahkovic managed to play in three leagues last year (!!!). In 13 Liga Nova KBM games he averaged 5.4ppg and 1.5rpg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. Mahkovic also played 15 games in Eurocup where he had 5.7ppg and 1.5rpg. And finally he contributed to 22 games in ABA Le... [read more]
Defending champion BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Division I) tabbed 26-year old Slovenian international forward Blaz Mahkovic (201-90). He has played for the last two years at Un.Olimpija in Slovenian Liga Nova KBM. Mahkovic managed to play in three leagues last year (!!!). In 13 Liga Nova KBM games he averaged 5.4ppg and 1.5rpg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. Mahkovic also played 15 games in Eurocup where he had 5.7ppg and 1.5rpg. And finally he contributed to 22 games in ABA League where he recorded 4.1ppg and 2.1rpg. Among other achievements Mahkovic's team was regular season runner-up in Slovenian League in 2015. He was selected to Slovenian League All-Star Game in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Mahkovic has been also a member of Slovenian international program for some years. He played for Slovenian senior team this year and previously for U16 National Team back in 2006. Mahkovic represented Slovenia at the European Championships U20 in Croatia six years ago. His stats at that event were 7 games: 5.0ppg, 1.3rpg. Mahkovic has played also professionally for other Slovenian teams like Helios, Triglav and LTH Castings.
Alex Renfroe (190-PG-86, college: Belmont, agency: BeoBasket) has joined BiH national team in their base in Tuzla. After many speculations about his arrival it looks there has been a turnaround and Alex has reached Tuzla. He still needs to do required medical checkups and make himself available to coaching staff. Last season Renfroe has played for FC Bayern Muenchen averaging 10.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.1apg in Euroleague, 14.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.7apg in Eurocup, and 9.5ppg, 3.3rpg and 4.8apg in German... [read more]
Alex Renfroe (190-PG-86, college: Belmont, agency: BeoBasket) has joined BiH national team in their base in Tuzla. After many speculations about his arrival it looks there has been a turnaround and Alex has reached Tuzla. He still needs to do required medical checkups and make himself available to coaching staff. Last season Renfroe has played for FC Bayern Muenchen averaging 10.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.1apg in Euroleague, 14.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.7apg in Eurocup, and 9.5ppg, 3.3rpg and 4.8apg in German BBL. Bosnia and Herzegovina starts the qualifiers on 31.08.2016 against Russia in Perm. Bosnia is in group B together with Russia and Sweden.
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