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.
Igokea roll past Bosna-Royal for Cup title - 3 hours ago
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Igokea - Bosna-Royal 79:67 Igokea claimed the Bosnian Cup title. They overcame Bosna-Royal in the title clash tonight. Danilo Sibalic (202-F-88, agency: BeoBasket) accounted for 17 points and 6 boards for the winners. Igokea got to a quick start. They poured in 30 points in the first period to take a 13-point lead. Bosna-Royal narrowed the gap in the second frame. They slowed Igokea and cut the deficit at 6-point mark 34:40. However Igokea got back into the driver's seat in the third t... [read more]
Igokea - Bosna-Royal 79:67
Igokea claimed the Bosnian Cup title. They overcame Bosna-Royal in the title clash tonight. Danilo Sibalic (202-F-88, agency: BeoBasket) accounted for 17 points and 6 boards for the winners. Igokea got to a quick start. They poured in 30 points in the first period to take a 13-point lead. Bosna-Royal narrowed the gap in the second frame. They slowed Igokea and cut the deficit at 6-point mark 34:40. However Igokea got back into the driver's seat in the third term. They ignited a 25:12 run to secure a 19-point lead at the final intermission. Bosna-Royal tried to put up a comeback run in the fourth frame but Igokea held on to the lead and rallied to the win. James Robinson (190-PG-94, college: Pittsburgh) and Vuk Radivojevic (196-G-83) added 12 points each for Igokea. Sasa Vasiljevic (183-PG-79, agency: BeoBasket) answered with 19 points for Bosna-Royal. Maksim Sturanovic (209-C-88, agency: 011 Sports) had 16 points in the loss.
How does Ivica Dukan survive year after year for the Chicago Bulls? The bio of Ivica shows he has been with the Bulls organization for 25 years scouting international players and occasionally scouting in the US in colleges and the NBA. He's a man who was with the team through the Bulls dynasty years under Jerry Krause and a man who has survived the regimes since then. The Bulls organization are known for their loyalty sometimes over competence and no one represents this more than Dukan w... [read more]
How does Ivica Dukan survive year after year for the Chicago Bulls?
The bio of Ivica shows he has been with the Bulls organization for 25 years scouting international players and occasionally scouting in the US in colleges and the NBA. He's a man who was with the team through the Bulls dynasty years under Jerry Krause and a man who has survived the regimes since then. The Bulls organization are known for their loyalty sometimes over competence and no one represents this more than Dukan who has survived years, hard times and multiple regime changes.
His son Duje Dukcan was a non-descript role player for the Wisconsin Badgers coming off the bench mostly as a college player. After college he played in Croatia before that didn't pan out for him. The fact that he wasn't able to cut it in the low level Croatian League didn't prevent the Bulls from signing him to their D-League affiliate where he currently resides, working for an organization known to put friendships and relationships before competency.
He's often credited with discovering Toni Kukoc but this is very misleading, by the time Kukoc was selected in the second round of the 1990 draft by the Bulls he was already established as one of the best talents in Europe. Kukoc was known as the European Magic Johnson and was a bright light in European basketball. The only problem still existing at that point was how much European players wanted to come to the NBA and take on that challenge in their career. Moving to the NBA in 1990 still meant abandoning your home countries international representation, something few where willing or able to do at that point. The story goes that Dukan was instrumental in the Bulls signing Kukoc because of the relationship between him and his fellow countryman.
Dukan's record of scouting and the Bulls results of drafting European players have not been good over the years. The team has missed on almost all of their European picks and one of the few bright spots was the forgettable Kornel David who played a key role on some of the worst teams in Bulls history. Andres Nocioni who was a nice role player as the Bulls finally re-established themselves in the mid-2000s after years of poor play and lottery selections. Again in the case of Nocioni he was well established as one of the best players in Europe when he came to the NBA so he deserves little credit for signing a player of his caliber. The case for Dukan is made worse when you consider that he wasn't the director of international scouting when the Bulls selected Kukoc in 1990.
A review of the international players the Bulls have drafted in the last 25 years…
2 (31) 1995 Dragan Tarlac: The Bulls finally select an international player after years of passing on players like Predrag Danilovic and Zeljko Rebraca, players that should have been well known considering they played in his former homeland of Yugoslavia. Tarlac was an absolute failure for the Bulls. Too stiff, un-athletic and unskilled he was obviously not up to being an NBA player. He finally came to the NBA in 2001 and averaged 14mpg 2.4ppg 2.8rbpg while shooting 39.4% from the field. PGs Tyus Edney and Eric Snow as well as current Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg were picked in the draft after the Bulls selected Tarlac.
2 (57) 1997 Robert Duenes: The Bulls embrace of un-athletic players extends to its international drafting. Duenes was a 218cm center who was stiff and lacking physical skills that had a non-descript European career mostly coming off the bench for his teams in Spain. He never made it to the NBA.
1 (24) 2000 Dalibor Bagaric: We have a pattern immerging here. Bagaric couldn't play at all, not only was he an embarrassment in the NBA he was a minor role player in Europe. He played 3 years in the NBA, his best year he averaged 3.7ppg 40.4% from the field and played awful defense. Picked behind him where former Yugoslavians Marko Jaric and Primoz Brezec both who went on to have long NBA careers.
1 (13) 2006 Thabo Sefolasha : He turned into a solid pro who has had a long NBA career as a role player. Kyle Lowry and Rajon Rondo where both available that year but the Bulls didn't have a great need at PG at that time.
2 (36) 2008 Omer Asik: He was a key part of the Bulls bench mob for the Bulls. After the front office guaranteed they would match any offers, they didn't and let him walk to the Rockets for no compensation. The Rockets eventually flipped him for an unprotected first round pick from the Pelicans.
1 (17) 2010 Kevin Saraphin: a non-descript role player who bounced around the NBA who was moved along with Kirk Hinrich for cap space… Immediately picked after him was Eric Bledsoe and Avery Bradley.
1 (16) Jusuf Nurkic: Bulls drafted Nurkic and Gary Harris and immediately traded them for the rights to Doug McDermott who has not exactly panned out for the Bulls. Players available when the Bulls drafted where Dario Saric, Zach LaVine, Clint Capela, Bojan Bogdanovic to name a few, all better options for the team.
2 (48) Paul Zipser: A player the Bulls are high on but once again appears to be a low ceiling, low floor type of a player who is likely to never to develop into anything more than a role player in the NBA.
Some of the international players the Bulls missed on over those years included Manu Ginobili, Gordan Giricek, Mehmet Okur, ZaZa Pachulia, Goran Dragic, Rudy Gobert to name just a few…
Durmo's double-double lands him Player of the Week award - 2 days ago
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19-year old power forward Ibrahim Durmo (201-F/C-97) had a very impressive game in the last round for Spars Sarajevo and receives a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 15. He had a double-double of 28 points and 13 rebounds, while his team outclassed Siroki Primorka (#7, 6-9) with 28-point margin 91-63. Spars Sarajevo is placed at 3rd position in Bosnia and Herzegovina league. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. Spars Sarajev... [read more]
19-year old power forward Ibrahim Durmo (201-F/C-97) had a very impressive game in the last round for Spars Sarajevo and receives a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 15. He had a double-double of 28 points and 13 rebounds, while his team outclassed Siroki Primorka (#7, 6-9) with 28-point margin 91-63. Spars Sarajevo is placed at 3rd position in Bosnia and Herzegovina league. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. Spars Sarajevo will need more victories to improve their 9-6 record. In the team's last game Durmo had a remarkable 71.4% from 2-point range and got four three-pointers out of 6 attempts. It was one of impressive evenings for him as usually he does not deliver so high stats. Durmo has impressive league stats. He is in league's top in rebounds (5th best: 7.5rpg) and averages solid 72.7% FGP.
Second best performed player last round was Bojan Stanojevic (203-C-88) of Mladost. He is Serbian center in his first season at Mladost. In the last game Stanojevic recorded impressive double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Bad luck as Mladost was edged by the higher-ranked Zrinjski HT (#2, 10-4) 77-73. This loss caused Mladost to drop to 9th position in the standings. His team is not often considered as one of the league's best with a mere 5-10 record. Stanojevic is a newcomer at Mladost and quickly became one of team's most reliable players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 15.4ppg (#8). He also registered 8.1 boards per game.
Third place about best performers goes to forward Bozo Djurasovic (200-F-87) of league's second-best Zrinjski HT. Djurasovic scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He was a key player of Zrinjski HT, leading his team to a 77-73 win against the lower-ranked Mladost (#9, 5-10). Zrinjski HT needs these victories very badly if they think about taking over top position in the standings. Their record at this point is 10 victories and 4 lost games. Djurasovic has a great season in Bosnia. After only 5 games, he made it on the list of the league's leaders in points with 16.4ppg (7th best).
Other top performing players last week: 4. Milos Markovic (201-G/F-84) of Gradjanski - 20 points and 8 rebounds 5. Edin Residovic (195-SG-94) of Bosna-Royal - 18 points and 4 rebounds 6. Devonte Brown (188-G-92) of Sloboda Tuzla - 18 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists 7. Drasko Knezevic (186-PG-93) of Zrinjski HT - 16 points and 10 assists 8. Marko Stevanovic) of Leotar - 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists 9. Strahinja Dragicevic (203-PF-86) of Bosna-Royal - 18 points and 4 rebounds 10. Zeljko Palavra (194-F/G-82) of Kakanj - 20 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
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