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Denver Nuggets' Jusuf Nurkic named, expected to play for Bosnia's 2017 EuroBasket qualifying team

Harrison Wind Avatar
July 21, 2016

 

Jusuf Nurkic is expected play on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2017 FIBA EuroBasket qualifying team, according to his coach Damir Mulaomerovic, via Fiba.com

“Both of our NBA players, Mirza Teletovic and Jusuf Nurkic, are coming back to play. 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.”

The qualifying tournament begins play Aug. 31 and Nurkic will reportedly join the Bosnian team for training camp sometime in August. The last game on the schedule as of now is Sep. 17 but the tournament aspect of EuroBasket could run later. Nuggets training camp began last year on Sep. 29.

Nurkic in early July. Credit: Harrison Wind, BSN Denver

If you’ve been following Nurkic on social media throughout the offseason, it’s apparent the big man is putting in the work necessary to head into next season with significant momentum. He’s reportedly dropped 35 pounds this summer and looked much slimmer in person when present around the Nuggets facility.

The 21-year-old suffered through a frustrating 2015-16 season after offseason surgery for a partially torn patellar tendon in his left knee limited him last offseason and at the beginning of last year. Nurkic didn’t end up seeing the court until Jan. 2, over a month after he was supposed to be cleared, and only played in 32 games. He averaged 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game but it was largely viewed as a lost season for the now third-year center.

Playing with his international team should give Nurkic some momentum heading into a pivotal season where he’s already firmly behind Nikola Jokic at the center position. Initially, he’ll be relied on to anchor the defense on a bench unit that should be much improved with Wilson Chandler healthy again and No. 7 overall pick Jamal Murry, who’s expected to add some much needed offensive firepower from the bench.

Nurkic joins Jokic (Serbia), Joffrey Lauvergne (France), and Danilo Gallinari (Italy) who have either played or are still playing with their international teams this offseason.

Nurkic last played for the Bosnian senior national team in 2012.

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