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Dzanan Musa: ‘I’m a whole other person’ after his first year in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nets

Dzanan Musa just turned 20. He was the seventh youngest player in the NBA this season, the second youngest in the G League. Now, as he prepares for his second season, both he and the Nets have high hopes for his career.

Musa averaged 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 36 games with Long Island. His coach, Will Weaver, called him the best passer in the G League and by season’s end, the 6’9” Bosnian had developed playmaking skills. Along with Theo Pinson and Alan Williams, Musa led Long Island to the G League finals.

Although at times frustrated (and twice injured), Musa credited the Nets development system with his improvement.

“That’s crazy how similar practices are, how similar coaches are,” Musa told Tom Dowd of the Nets official site. “It’s crazy that I don’t feel any difference when I’m in Brooklyn and in Long Island except for obviously the crowds and the quality of the players. I think everything Long Island is doing is reflective of the Brooklyn Nets, so I think that’s a great part of our organization.”

Musa also credited his Nets teammates with helping him learn the game. As Dowd writes, he absorbed lessons about the professional life from vets like Jared Dudley and Ed Davis and bonded with younger teammates like D’Angelo Russell. DLo was also part of a group of Brooklyn players who went out to Long Island to cheer on the G League squad in the playoffs.

Living in Brooklyn, he said, was a joy, learning about the borough and the larger city much like a tourist, googling nearby attractions and neighborhoods.

“I just kind of found it on my own,” says Musa. “I Googled the places where I could go on my first two, three days, and when I settled down I said to myself, ‘We’re going to Dumbo.’”

Now, he sees himself as a Brooklynite, with a favorite lunch spot, Sugarcane, and enough knowledge to take his family on tours.

“I was walking there three or four months ago and I think that reflected of me going eight months ago and now it’s like a whole other person,” Musa told Dowd. “I’m a whole other person. I was walking with my family over there and it’s a special feeling when you realize that you’re drafted here and you have so much love for this city and I’m looking forward to the rest of the seasons.”

After a quick trip back to Bihac, his hometown in Bosnia —where he renovated the basketball court he played on as a youth, Musa is back in Brooklyn, back at HSS Training Center. Now, he’s looking forward to summer league and showing what he can do, calling it “the highlight of my summer,”

What he does in Las Vegas will no doubt determine how much time he gets in Brooklyn this season ... that and who will be on the roster come October.