Towards the lead up to the FIBA U17 World Championships, I did a fair amount of research on a lot of the non-USA talent that would be competing in the tournament. One of the big prospects that I saw mentioned a lot in the build up was Bosnia and Herzegovina forward Dzanen Musa. Despite turning 17 in May, Musa was probably the most experienced player in the tournament, having played with KK Cedevita during the 2015-16 season Despite not being much more than a role player, as he averaged 11.6 minutes per game, it was still a huge accomplishment for a 16-year-old player to be playing in the same league with players that are a decade older than him.
That season of gaining meaningful experience and playing against the best players in Europe gave Musa an extra edge over the competition once the FIBA U17's rolled around in the summer. Despite some of the better prospects that Europe had to offer (Jaylen Howard, Sergi Martinez and), Musa still stood as the best of the bunch.
As tournament began, Musa was able to hold on to that label of the best European prospect and just absolutely explode. In Bosnia's debut game against the Dominican Republic, Musa erupted to put up 32 points and 11 rebounds on 11/20 from the field and 9/14 from the free-throw line. That fantastic outing would seem seem like the norm as the tournament wore on. In the succeeding three games, Musa did the following: 19 points on 4-18 shooting against France, 36 points on 11/23 shooting against Korea and 34 points on 9/24 shooting against Australia.
However, despite that solid play, the world wasn't quite ready for what Musa was about to do against Chinese Taipei. Perhaps it was due to the tough loss against Australia or the lackluster talent of Chinese Taipei, but Musa appeared to be on the mission from the jump. Throughout the game, Musa was extremely aggressive as he seemed destined to score whenever he touched the ball. That aggression and just sheer offensive versatility led Musa to scoring 50 points on 18-26 from the field and 11-15 from the free throw line, which set an all-time record for the FIBA U17 tournament.
Whether in transition or in the half-court, Musa had his eyes on cutting towards the rim where he was successful more times than not. While a lot of that transition work was due to Musa working as a rim runner, he did show an ability to drive with the ball in his hands. That trait is evident in the play below.
In half-court sets, Musa has also displayed a knack of driving towards the rim. Musa is a solid ball-handler and has a quick first-step which are both unique traits for a 6'9 forward that's only 17-years-old. That quickness is prevalent as those drives continues as Musa moves with terrific fluidity and confidence for a player his size. Alongside that, he's shown an ability to finish around the rim with both hands. Those abilities are going to be crucial for Musa as his career continues as he's not an explosive finisher at the rim. Despite that, Musa has a keen sense of how to direct contact while around the basket, as he's averaged 15.3 free throw attempts per game during this FIBA U17 tournament.
An area where Musa has really shined during the tournament is as a perimeter shooter. On 6.5 attempts per game, Musa shot 38% from beyond the arc, making him one of the more efficient shooters in the U17's. That efficiency shouldn't be considered as a fluke as he has great range and a pretty fluid shooting stroke which he mainly utilizes while working off-the-dribble. That's evident in the following play, as Musa works around the off-ball screen and launches a jumper from well beyond 3-point line.
Perhaps one of Musa's most impressive skills would be his work as a facilitator. Despite averaging a tournament-high 34 points per game, Musa's a very unselfish player as he does a nice job of finding open teammates. That's evident in both pick-and-rolls and transition, as he does a nice job of using his 6'9 frame to see over the court and make the correct play.
Despite Bosnia and Herzegovina not being able to go far in the U17's due to an early loss to Australia, Musa still established his status as perhaps the best international prospect. With the combination of a versatile skill-set mixed with just being incredibly young, Dznana Musa's the kind of players that die-hard NBA fans should already keep their eyes That's due to there being a very good chance that we'll be seeing his name called early in the 2018 NBA Draft.