Vanderbilt guard returns for second workout with Nuggets

John Jenkins and two international players among six prospects at Pepsi Center
by Aaron Lopez

At the end of the 2011-12 NBA season, a third of the Denver Nuggets’ roster was composed of international players. As the first international prospects entered Pepsi Center for predraft workouts Thursday, it became clear that the Nuggets are gaining a global following.

Evan Fournier, a shooting guard from France, is familiar with Denver coach George Karl’s style of play.

“I know the way the Nuggets play, a lot of up and down and shooting the ball,” Fournier said. “That’s what I like to do.”

In addition to 19-year-old Fournier, the Nuggets hosted 7-foot-1 center Izzet Turkyilmaz of Turkey. They were joined by four college prospects: Florida State center Xavier Gibson, Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins, Kentucky guard Doron Lamb, and Temple guard Ramon Moore.

It was the second Nuggets workout for Jenkins, who also visited Denver on May 22.

“I feel like it went just as well as my last workout (here in Denver),” Jenkins said. “That’s what I wanted to come in here and do: play hard, play aggressive and play good defense. I feel like I did that today.

“I’ve gotten wiser through this whole process. You go to different teams and you play against different guys and your competitiveness goes up and it brings the best out in you.”

For younger prospects, deciding when to enter the draft can be a challenge. Fournier believes now is the right time.

“I had a great season in France,” he said. “I want a new challenge and to compete against the best players in the world. The NBA is the best league and (entering the draft) is the best thing for me right now.”

Each of the players brought strong experience to Thursday’s workout.

Fournier, 6-7, 204, averaged 14.1 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game last year for France Pro A’s Poitiers.

Gibson, 6-11, 250, averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in his senior season as he helped lead Florida State to an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship.

Jenkins, 6-4, 215, averaged 19.6 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting in three years at Vanderbilt, while leading the SEC in scoring each of the last two seasons. Additionally, he led the nation in three-pointers per game last season with 3.83 per contest.

Lamb, 6-4, 210, averaged 13.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in his two-year stint at Kentucky. Lamb poured in 22 points as he helped his Wildcats capture the national championship.

Moore, 6-4, 190, was a First Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection as a senior at Temple. The guard scored 17.3 points per game on 44.2 percent shooting.

Turkyilmaz, 7-1, 220, has been active in Eurocup and on the Turkish International Team, as well as playing professionally for Bandirma Banvit.

The Nuggets wrapped up four consecutive days of workouts, taking a look at 27 prospects leading up to the June 28 NBA Draft. Denver holds the 20th, 38th and 50th overall selections.

“I’m pretty excited,” Jenkins said. “Just one week left until the draft. You can’t beat that.”