Nuggets evaluate six prospects as NBA Draft draws near

University of Colorado forward Austin Dufault among impressive group
by Aaron Lopez

With the 2012 NBA Draft approaching, the Denver Nuggets evaluated six college prospects at Pepsi Center on Monday.

Among the group was University of Colorado power forward Austin Dufault, a four-year starter who played in a school-record 136 games. It was Dufault’s first NBA workout.

“It’s awesome (to be here in Denver),” Dufault said. “Over the last four years, I’ve turned into a Nuggets fan because they’ve been down the road (from Boulder). I’ve been to a couple of games and I’m familiar with their coaching staff. Just being able to come here and work out is a blessing and it’s an opportunity that I’m very thankful for.”

Dufault was joined by Memphis guard Will Barton, Tennessee Tech guard Kevin Murphy, St. Bonaventure forward Andrew Nicholson, Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor and Kentucky guard Marquis Teague.

The Nuggets hold the 20th, 38th, and 50th overall selections in the June 28 NBA Draft.
Unlike Dufault, the other players at Monday’s session have become very familiar with the workout process.

“This is my ninth (predraft workout),” Nicholson said. “The altitude is something that’s different about Denver, but they’ve all been relatively similar. I have five more teams to go between now and draft day.”

Nicholson said he’s been preparing for the draft with a coach in Boston, while Dufault has been sticking closer to home.

“Right now, we have all 15 guys that will be on next year’s roster at CU on campus,” Dufault said. “They’re working out every day and playing pickup games. I try to do all the workouts with them and stay in shape. Also, I do a lot of work with the coaches. Rodney Billups has been around the game a lot, and he’s very knowledgeable.”

Despite preparing for the draft in a variety of ways, all six prospects brought strong credentials to Pepsi Center.

Barton, 6-6, 175, averaged 15.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in two years at Memphis. He was named the 2011-12 Conference USA Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring at 18 points per game.

Dufault, 6-9, 225, capped his senior season by averaging 11.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 36 games – all well above his previous career highs.

Murphy, 6-5, 185, was a four-year player at Tennessee Tech and averaged 20.6 points on .444 shooting and 5.2 rebounds as a senior. He earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

Nicholson, 6-9, 250, averaged 17.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 123 career games at St. Bonaventure. He also finished with an impressive .575 field-goal percentage.

Taylor, 6-3, 185, was a third-team All-American selection at Kansas in 2011-12 after averaging 16.6 points and 4.8 assists while guiding the Jayhawks to the NCAA title game.

Teague, 6-2, 189, helped Kentucky to the national title as a freshman. He averaged 10 points and 4.8 assists per game in 40 games.

Royce White of Iowa State was also scheduled to work out Monday but has been rescheduled for next week.

The Nuggets have four more workouts this week, with additional workouts scheduled next week leading up to the draft.

Check back with for updates and insight on who you might see suiting up for the Nuggets next season.