EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A little more than 110,000 people live in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, putting the population of that city at about one-20th that of Brooklyn. Monday morning at the Nets' training facility, though, it was Mostar that looked primed to overtake the borough.
The Nets introduced forward Bojan Bogdanovic, a 25-year-old rookie swingman who joins Mirza Teletovic as the second Mostar native to make his American basketball transition with the Brooklyn Nets. Bogdanovic, who was taken by the Heat with the 31st pick in the 2011 draft and traded to the Nets on draft night, was signed to a reported three-year, $10-million deal last week. He has spent the last three years playing with Fenerbahçe Ülker, a Turkish team in the EuroLeague.
"I'm glad and proud to finally come overseas to play for Brooklyn," Bogdanovic said. "Every summer, I thought to bring me over and it finally came."
Now that he's here, the Nets are doing everything they can to make him feel welcome. Bogdanovic was wined and dined this week by both GM Billy King, who took him see the Barclays Center ("I was so impressed; it's one of the best courts in the world," he said), and coach Lionel Hollins.
Bogdanovic said he and Hollins spoke about the coach's expectations, but that he didn't specify what his role will be. Bogdanovic, though, is ready to "fight for my minutes," he said.
Bogdanovic said he's added depth to his game in the last year, going from pure shooter to being more of a threat on the pick-and-roll and in one-on-one situations.
"Of course, it's not going to be easy," he said of the transition from European ball. "I'm going to have to do some adjustments, especially because it's a lot of games, much more than in Europe, but I'm ready."
Last season, the 6-8 Bogdanovic averaged 14.8 points and 30.6 minutes in 24 games, with 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He was a Turkish Basketball League All-Star in 2013, and won Turkish Basketball League and Turkish Supercup championships in 2014, according to the Nets.
Though he had plans to stay with Fenerbahçe Ülker, he tracked the Nets' progress all last season, he said, and when he got the call, he was excited for the challenge.
"Of course," he was excited to meet his new teammates, Bogdanovic said. "We have some of the best players in the NBA. I'm excited to be on the same court as Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams. I can't wait to meet them and start playing with them."
He's already had chats with Teletovic, he said, and his training facility locker is adjacent to his countryman. "I am very, very happy," he said. "Mirza is from my hometown . . . I am close with him and I am asking him a lot of questions."
How's this for a question: What is it about Mostar that seems to produce Brooklyn Nets?
"They [make] a lot of good players," he said. "I don't know [why]. I hope some more players will come from Mostar to Brooklyn."