NCAA powers represented as Nuggets continue predraft workouts

by Aaron Lopez

Some of college basketball's most successful programs were represented at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Florida. Kansas. Kentucky. Syracuse. UCLA.

The five schools have combined to win eight of the past 20 NCAA titles.

“This was definitely a loaded workout,” Kansas forward Tarik Black said after going through drills for the Denver Nuggets.

Black was joined by Florida forward Casey Prather, Kentucky swingman James Young, Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis and UCLA guard Zach LaVine as the Nuggets continued to evaluate prospects in advance of the June 26 NBA Draft.

Denver has the 11th overall pick, as well as two second-round selections (Nos. 41 and 56).

“You always want to compete against the best guys in the draft and go after them and show what you can do,” Ennis said. “That’s what the team wants to see. They want to see you compete. They’ve watched you in games, so they want to see how you are 3-on-3 and 1-on-1 (situations).”

Ennis, LaVine and Young are among several standout players who left school after their freshman year.

LaVine, who turned 19 in March, was widely criticized in the media for his decision to go pro after starting just one game at UCLA, but his size (6-5, 180), athleticism and impressive workouts have helped his stock rise in the past several weeks.

“I feel like everyone can use another year. I just feel like it was time in my career to come out,” he said. “I don’t regret it. I’m having a good time with the process and proving a lot of people wrong.

“I like making doubters look stupid. It’s something I’ve gotten used to. I’ve had a lot of doubters eat their words through this process so far. I’m a humble person, but very confident. I’ve put a lot of work into the game.”

LaVine has been through about a half-dozen workouts, with at least four more on the way. The itineraries have been similar for the other four players at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

“It’s crazy,” Young said. “It’s a lot of traveling. You have to rest when you can and just get your body and mind right. You have to get used to it … That’s what we’re here for. We didn’t come here to rest. We came to fulfill our dreams.”