The Bosnian Beast
Full Name: Jusuf Nurkic
Birthdate: August 23, 1994
Place of Birth: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Basketball Team (Currently): Portland Trail Blazers
Playing Years: 2014 to present
From being an anonymous teenager to a potential NBA star, Jusuf Nurkic definitely bulldozed his way to success. Nurkic was 14 years old when he started playing basketball. He was brought to Slovenia by Bosnian sports agent Enes Trnovcevic and gave him a chance to play. When he got there, he played in the youth level for Slovenian team Zlatorog Lasko before being loaned to Union Olimpija to play in the Nike International Junior Tournament.
Jusuf Nurkik caught the attention of international spectators when he recorded an impressive average of 18.8 points and 11 rebounds in 5 games. After the competition, he left Zlatorog Lasko and started training with Croatian team, Cedevita.
Cedevita Zagreb (2012-2014)
After several months of training with Cedevita, Nurkic joined them on a four-year contract. After his contract-signing, he revealed in a press conference that he parted ways with the Slovenian team because his former coach Milos Sporar doesn’t give him an opportunity to play.
In his first season with the Croatian team, he mostly played during garbage time. In the EuroLeague, he only played in 6 matches, averaging on 1.8 points per game. During the start of 2013, he was loaned to Zadar until the remainder of the season on his initiative since he was hoping to play more minutes.
In his second season with the team, he had more breakthroughs in the Adriatic League under new coach Jasmin Repesa. In the league, he averaged on a total of 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He was nominated for the FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year award the following year for his impressive performances during the season.
Professional Basketball Career:
Denver Nuggets (2014-2017)
Nurkic was chosen by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, then was later traded to the Denver Nuggets on draft night. In October of the same year, he made his NBA debut, recording a total of 5 points and 7 rebounds in the 89-79 victory against the Detroit Pistons. In January 2015, he achieved his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a defeat against the Chicago Bulls.
Two days after recording his first double-double, Nurkic recorded his second with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks in the 114-85 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies. He went on to record two more double-doubles the following month.
Jusuf Nurkic was selected to be included in the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge as a replacement for Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams. However, he declined due to personal reasons. In Denver’s last game of the season, he scored a season-high 17 points, but they eventually lost to the Golden State Warriors. In May, he went through a surgery to patch-up a partially torn left patellar tendon.
During his second season with the Nuggets, he recorded an impressive 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a close 78-74 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. On March 12, he scored a season-high 17 points in a 116-100 victory over the Washington Wizards. Nurkic topped this record when he scored 18 points against the Los Angeles Lakers, and 19 points against the Los Angeles Clippers. The following month, he scored another season-high 21 points in a 102-98 win against the San Antonio Spurs.
In his final season with Denver, he opened their campaign with a new career-high of 23 points in a 107-102 win against the New Orleans Pelicans. After Nikola Jokic emerged as Denver’s main centre, Nurkic was moved down to the bench. The demotion didn’t sit well with him so he requested to be traded.
Portland Trail Blazers (2017-present)
In February 2017, the Bosnian national was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee. He made his debut for the team two days later when he scored 13 points and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes during a 111-88 defeat to the Utah Jazz. He made his first start for Portland during their game against Orlando Magic where he scored 12 points and 12 rebounds. Furthermore, Nurkic had a
career-high 28 points and 20 rebounds in a match against the Philadelphia 76ers. He also contributed 8 assists and 6 blocks, becoming the first NBA player to have that record since 1986. Nurkic then went on to set a new record of 33 points with 16 rebounds during their 122-113 victory against his former team, the Denver Nuggets.
In his second season with the Trail Blazers, he returned to action in the Game 3 of the first round of playoff series against the Golden State Warriors after acquiring a fracture in his right leg last season. The Bosnian Beast went on to score massive points for Portland, helping the team secure victories one after the other.
He re-signed with Portland for the 2018 season, once again recording massive points to help the team claim victories and secure the 3rd spot in the Western Conference standings. In January 2019, he posted a massive 24 points and 23 rebounds with 7 assists, 5 blocks and 5 steals in a 113-108 victory against the Sacramento King. Because of this, he became the only player to record such remarkable statistics in NBA history.
Bosnia and Herzegovina National Basketball Team
Jusuf Nurkic represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in the national basketball team. He was named MVP of the Europe Under-18 Championship Division B in 2012, recording a total of 19.4 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. He was once again named MVP in the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship Division B. Nurkic was also included in the senior national basketball team roster for the Eurobasket 2017 qualification.
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