When Bosnian head basketball coach Damir Mulaomerovic announced that Mirza Teletovic (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jusuf Nurkic (Denver Nuggets) would make a return to the national team, fans rejoiced immediately. They know what a little NBA firepower can do for a team, especially in a fight for qualification.
Speaking to FIBA.com in an interview earlier this year, Mulaomerovic said, “Both of our NBA players, Mirza Teletovic and Jusuf Nurkic, are coming back to play,” Mulaomerovic told FIBA.com. “We also have a lot of established veterans and some talented young players. We have guys with quality who want to prove themselves. I think this is the best team we can have right now, I believe fully in this team. I have been following everybody and I am convinced we will have a pretty strong team for this qualification campaign.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina will play in Group C of Eurobasket 2017 qualification, along with Russia and Sweden. Certainly no easy task considering the competition, but Mulaomerovic believes he’s found the right formula. The 41-year-old coach has paired veteran experience with youthful talent, composing his team of youngsters such as stand-out talent Dzanan Musa (17) and experienced players such as captain Mirza Teletovic (30).
Teletovic who has signed a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, missed out on the 2015 tournament because of a serious threat to his health. In 2013, he averaged 21.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game in the final tournament, helping Bosnia climb to a 13th place finish, barely missing out on the second round.
Meanwhile, Jusuf Nurkic, aka the Bosnian Beast, has been conditioning and working hard through most of the summer. The 21-year-old missed out on a large portion of last season due to a knee injury but seeks to make a return since his time as an 18-year-old on the team. Nurkic has developed very well, and added significant strength and athleticism since his time in the NBA. The 7-footer will be a big boost for the Bosnians in their qualification run.
Bayern boys Nihad Djedovic and Alex Renfroe as well as AEK’s Milan Milosevic round out the starting roster. Djedovic, a 3 time BBL All-Star is one of the key players on the team. Alex Renfroe (30), a naturalized Bosnian citizen is another experienced player having played all across Europe throughout his career.
Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects for Bosnian fans is the addition of 17-year-old Dzanan Musa, who led his U-17 team to European glory as MVP, winning gold in 2015. Musa has been touted as one of the best Bosnian, and wider Yugoslav talents in recent memory. Many have speculated about his future, including a possible move to U.S. universities such as North Carolina or Duke. For now, Musa plays for Croatian side Cedevita.
Bosnia’s first game will be against Russia on August 31st while the last qualification game will be played against Sweden on September 14th. If Bosnia finish first, or even possibly second, they could qualify for the major tournament.