By : Vedran Modric
In the last 10 years only Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric were that impressive at youth competitions in Europe. Eurohopes talked with Dzanan Musa after winning Gold for Bosnia & Herzegovina and MVP award at European Championship U-16 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Lets talk about first medal in the history for Bosnia & Herzegovina. What was the hardest thing at the tournament ?
When we lost two games and then we had to win games against France and Croatia so we can advance to quarter-finals. After those two losses everybody in the team had a tough night sleeping. It was do or die against France but after that game we just came together as a team and won every game till the end.
What about semi-finals and double-overtime thriller against Spain ?
Oh man. That game was crazy. But my teammates and me fought to the end and won that game. That game was almost like senior level.
Finals against Lithuania and after that arriving in Sarajevo in front of 50 thousand people ?
That was incredible. I can not even describe the feeling because it was unreal. We expected 3 or 4 thousand people but 50 thousand. Unreal.
Last question about European Championship U-16. Was it true that FIBA officials came into the locker room after quarter-finals game ?
Yes. That was problably the worst feeling during the Championship. We won game against Germany in quarter-finals and advanced to semi-finals and everybody was happy because we made history (booked a spot in FIBA U-17 World Championship), but then FIBA officials came in the locker room and told us we wont play if we dont pay the fee until tommorow. We were in shock and me and my teammates couldnt even talk after hearing that. And private businessman from Bosnia saved us. His name is Pero Gudelj and he paid 10 thousand euros and me and my teammates are forever thankful to him.
Ok lets go back year ago when you had an deal with Greek powerhouse Olympiacos on the table. What made you choose Cedevita Zagreb as your club for the future ?
You are right about that. The deal with Olympiacos was almost done but then Cedevita GM Matej Mamic and Cedevita sent a e-mail with offer just as good as Olympiacos offer. And i went with Cedevita because its closer to home (2-hour drive from his hometown Bihac),same mentality,same language and youth teams in Cedevita organization are better. Even before that Olympiacos/Cedevita thing I had offer from KK Partizan because they really wanted me but I have no regrets about picking Cedevita. The club is great, the city of Zagreb is great, I just love it.
Did you ever think about going to college (NCAA) ?
Well after Eurocamp in Treviso I had an Duke offer and their scout was really interested but i think its better for me to become a player in Europe and then come to NBA.
I saw you wearing Adidas from head to toe today. Is that because you werent selected in the Jordan Brand Classic Camp in Zagreb to go to New York ?
Ha, ha, but the answer is yes. I signed a deal with Adidas just after that Jordan Brand Camp in Zagreb. And the funny thing is Nike offered me a contract after that game but my agent and me said no and went with Adidas.
Next year you are gonna play senior basketball in Croatian league for KK Zabok, Cedevita farm team right ?
Well today im going to camp with Cedevita and I hope I will make the cut with Cedevita. But if that doesn't happen the plan is to play for Zabok next year.
Looking forward for the U-17 World Championship with Bosnia ?
Of course. Its first time Bosnia will play at U-17 World Championship and after this we cant wait for that. After winning gold with Bosnia, we became family and not a day goes by without talking to my teammates and coach Josip Panza.