Nets’ Musa assisting when it matters most
Sends medical equipment to hospital in Bosnia and Herzegovina
During his second season here in Downtown Brooklyn, Dzanan Musa was barely averaging an assist per game off the bench for the Nets.
But the 6-foot-9 shooting guard’s biggest assist of the year is one that won’t go down on his NBA stat sheet.
Musa, who, like the rest of us, is waiting to see if he and his teammates will hit the hardwood again after their season was paused due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, purchased and donated crucial medical equipment to his hometown hospital of Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina last week.
Most notably, Musa sent monitors that help track a patient’s condition, something that wasn’t readily available in his native country.
“I just saw on the internet that everybody’s worried that they don’t have medical supplies and I called the hospital and asked, ‘Do you need anything from me?'” Musa revealed.
With the help of his brother, Dzennis, who is back home in Bihac after traveling to Brooklyn alongside Musa during the latter’s rookie season here in our fair borough, two monitors were tracked down in Serbia and delivered.
“They will help the people in bad conditions. It will keep them alive and give them hope to live,” said Musa of the donation.
“Those two machines are the first ones in Bosnia to ever come over there. The people there didn’t have those kind of machines, so I’m really happy I helped them get these.”
Musa also thanked the NBA Players Association, which contributed to the purchase with help from the league’s international liaison Ivan Maggi and executive director Michelle Roberts.
Originally selected with the 29th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, Musa spent most of his first season with the Nets’ G-League affiliate on Long Island.
After participating in only nine games for Brooklyn during his rookie campaign, the 20-year-old was averaging 4.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.9 assists over 35 contests for the Nets this season before it was suspended indefinitely on March 10.
With more than a month off from playing or practicing, Musa has done his best to stay in shape, working out with weights and riding a stationary bike in his Brooklyn apartment while taking to the roof for basketball-related activities.
“I think the Brooklyn organization is a great organization,” said Musa. “They keep us together through FaceTime workouts. I think that’s unique in the NBA, to have those relationships with (General Manager Sean Marks) and (Head Coach) Jacque (Vaughn).
“All the staff is calling us every day,” he added. “(Assistant Coach) Tiago Splitter is sending me clips every day of players I want to study like Manu Ginobili. It’s pretty nice that you feel like you’re family.”
The Nets, who had a 30-34 record and were in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race at the time of the NBA’s pause, will likely be as ready as any other team in the league if play resumes.
But Marks indicated during a Q&A on the team’s website last week that the organization is doing its best not only to monitor the players’ collective health but also to keep them in shape physically for a potential restart.
“Me, personally, I’m in touch with the players on an individual basis every couple of days. I know Jacque and the coaching staff have sort of divied it up and are doing the same thing —once a day, every couple of days,” Marks revealed.
“The performance team has really taken this to another level of creative heights via Zoom and FaceTime and so forth … and the players have the option to join in when it fits their schedule.”
Regardless of whether the NBA resumes play or not this year, Marks made sure to remind his players, four of whom tested positive for COVID-19 last month but have since been cleared, to keep their focus on staying safe during this turbulent and troubling time.
“We’re just trying to get our guys a little sense of normalcy and get them into some sort of rhythm but also have the understanding that their priority should be —and rightfully so— their health and their families’ health,” he noted. “We don’t want to take away any of that as well.”
Nothing But Net: Though he parted ways with Head Coach Kenny Atkinson and replaced him with Vaughn back in March, Marks made sure to tip his hat to the man who helped build the foundation on which the Nets were able to acquire superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving last summer. “(Atkinson’s) fingerprints are all over this organization and we’ll be eternally grateful there,” Marks said. “As we move into this next stage, we’ll be looking for a leader, a leader of men, someone who can take this group and continue what we’ve already built, having relationships with the players, understand what the organization is at the precipice of and who the key players are —and I don’t just mean the players on the court but who the players are in the organization. They need to have an understanding of the performance team, the ownership group and so forth and all of the things that go into taking the Brooklyn Nets to another level.” Vaughn, who replaced Atkinson last month and helped the Nets to a 2-0 record before the season was halted, is currently working an interim head coach tag. “I hope that Jacque and the group there have an opportunity,” Marks said. “They’ve shown an incredible amount of resiliency not only when they were playing a month or so ago, but in the short time we’ve been out with the communication and so forth with our players and staff.”
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