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CU Buffs: Chatting with Austin Dufault

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
July 1, 2015


As we move closer to the Colorado Alumni team tipping off in “The Basketball Tournament” we’re catching up with some of the stars of the team, first we talked to Colorado’s (co) all-time leading scorer Richard Roby, and today we’re chatting with CU’s all-time leader in games played, Austin Dufault. “AD” is one of just 19 players in CU history to finish their career with 1,000 points/500 rebounds (1,076 pts./529 rebs.)

BSNDenver.com: Just to get started, take me through your career a little since CU?

Austin Dufault: “My first year out of school, my first job was in the Czech Republic, with a team called Prostejov, I played with them for about half a season. Then I ended up switching teams and playing for another Czech team called Ostrava.

“My first year I had a pretty good year overall, both teams I played pretty well with. The team I finished the season with, we ended up making it to the semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history, so that was something that was really cool.
“My second year I started the season in Germany, and then I switched teams after the first month of the season, and ended up playing in Macedonia for a club called Kozuv. We played in what’s called the Balkan League, which is a lot of former Yugoslavian countries that make up a league. So there’s teams from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania, so that was a cool experience playing in that part of the world that absolutely loves basketball. The fans there were crazy, they’d throw stuff at people, light stuff on fire in the crowd, that type of thing that you only see in youtube videos.
“This last season I was in France, playing in ProB, which is their second league, which was actually voted last season as the best second league, so that’s a really solid league. The last three year’s I’ve been all over the place with a lot of different teams which I think is kind of typical for your first few years overseas, but so far it’s been a good experience.”

BSN: Growing up in Killdeer, North Dakota, did you ever think you’d be living in the Czech Republic or Macedonia or anywhere like that?

AD: “I think every kid that plays basketball growing up want to be a professional basketball player, I saw some guys who grew up around me that were older than me get an opportunity to play overseas, so I always knew that would be a possibility if I put the work in. I never pictured that I’d be in some of the countries that I’ve been in, I never thought in a million years I would live in the Czech Republic, or Macedonia.”

BSN: How has that experience been off of the court?

AD: “It’s been great, it’s definitely tough at times because you’re away from your family , sometimes you’re in cultures where you don’t really understand the way people live and you definitely have to adjust and learn from people, and you have to go into every situation with an open mind. If you go in expecting things to go a certain way, you’re going to get a rude awakening, but if you show up with an open mind it can really be a fun experience. You can really learn a lot from the people that you’re around, and the different cultures that you see.”

BSN: What would you say is your best memory from your pro career?

AD: “My best memory would probably be from my first year, making it to the semi-finals. it was a five-game series, and we lost in the fifth game on the road. The American players were really disappointed, we wanted to go to the finals and play for a championship, but just the support we had from our fans was incredible. We had a bunch of fans that followed us to the game, and the whole way back home they followed us, we would stop in different places and it was like a big celebration that we made it that far.

“Then, this last year in France, I hit my first game winner of my career on a little put-back at the buzzer, that was pretty cool. I had never hit a game winner in high school, college or pros, so that was pretty cool.”

BSN: What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had playing over there?

AD: “The weirdest thing, and probably one of the funniest things that has happened to me was in my first game in Macedonia. The whole story is kind of strange, so the year before, my team had made it to the semi-finals, and there was a riot that broke out in the crowd, so the first game of our season, there were no fans allowed in the building, it was just the refs the teams, and the scorekeepers, so that in itself was weird.

“Anyway, we were up by like 15 or 20 right before halftime, and one of our local players had this ridiculous dunk, drove baseline and dunked on this guy, I was all pumped, the buzzed went off and we went into the locker room. I was one of the last guys into the locker room, and I come around the corner and the guy who had the dunk is just sitting on a bench in the locker room smoking a cigarette. I didn’t know what to think, he was one of the best athletes on our team, never got tired in conditioning drills, here he is just sitting there at halftime smoking a cigarette… It was awesome.”

BSN: What’s your favorite part about living in a different country?

AD: “Just being able to travel. Obviously the best part of the whole thing is being able to get paid to continue to play basketball, but aside from that, just being able to travel and see different things. This last year in France has been really cool, I got to go to Germany, Switzerland, Paris and a lot of different places in France, so that was cool. Just the experience of being able to travel and see different countries is something that’s really enjoyable.”

BSN: Least favorite part?

AD: “Just being away from family and not being able to be around them. I miss being at CU, man. I wish I could just come back and go to a game and be in that atmosphere, and be around my family and all the people that I know in Boulder, I just love being in that area.”

BSN: Do you still follow the program closely?

AD: “Yeah absolutely, it’s tough to watch games sometimes, I have a slingbox so I try to keep up with them as much as I can, but it’s tough when games come on at three or four in the mornings and I need to get my rest with practices early the next day. So I try to DVR them and catch up that way. I definitely keep an eye on everything that’s going on.”

BSN: What do you think was the main reason they had a down year last year?

“I think injuries played a big part, especially with Josh, whenever you take away somebody who does as many things as Josh does for the majority of conference play, I think it can be really tough on the team, he was a big offensive help that took a lot of pressure off of Ski.
I think the future is definitely bright, a lot of guys got experience this year, i think that they’re going to have a really good year this year, and bounce back, as long as they can stay healthy.”

BSN: What is your best memory from your playing days at CU?

AD: “I’d have to say winning the Pac-12 tournament, and then getting to play in the NCAA tournament, just as a way to end my career, I don’t think I could’ve scripted it any better than the way that it ended except for maybe getting a win against Baylor and going to the Sweet Sixteen. but the entire experience of the “four games in four days” and being able to play in the NCAA tournament with such a tight group of guys, and just what we built in those few years is something that I look back on and am really proud of.”

BSN: How much grief did you get from your teammates for slipping on that Towel?

AD: “Ohhh *laughter* a lot. A lot. One of our managers, Eric, was freaking out because he was the one who left the towel on the ground, so he was the foist one over to me and he was like “Oh man, I hope you didn’t break anything or else Boyle’s going to kill me,” but I was just so excited. Oregon was not one of my favorite teams to play against, so being able to knock them out was pretty nice.”

BSN: What was it about Oregon that you didn’t like?

AD: “I think it all started when we played them the first time in Boulder, Nate drew the foul at the end and knocked the two free-throws down to give us the win. After the game they were talking about how the games was stolen from them an this and that, so after they beat us at at their place and we got a third game in the Pac-12 tournament, to prive that we were the better team was just a great feeling.”

BSN: I think there’s a feeling around the fan-base that Tad and Dana Altman have a little bit of a rivalry, is there something to that?

AD: “I don’t know, honestly. I just know that Dana Altman seemed really upset when we beat him in Boulder, but I honestly don’t know if that had anything to do with Coach Boyle.”

BSN: You hit a three against UNLV in the tourney game to go up 21, and I tell people that it may have been the loudest I have ever heard CU basketball fans. Do you remember how loud it was when you hit that?

AD: “Oh yeah. Man, just talking about that know I got goosebumps. Playing in The Pit, it almost felt like we were in Coors, because the stadium kind of has the same feel as the Coors Events Center, and with how much fan support we had, it was just an amazing experience. I think it was cool because it wasn’t like a big football stadium or something, it was like a basketball arena, known for basketball. The environment there was just awesome.”

BSN: Transitioning to to the last part of our interview here, how did you get involved with this TBT team?

AD: “I actually got an email from the guy who runs the tournament, and I didn’t really think anything of it, I read it and was like ‘A tournament for a million dollars? What is this about?’ Then Nate Tomlinson and Levi Knutson both emailed me and asked if I heard about it, and finally Beau Gamble reached out to me and said there was a few guys that had some interest in it so we talked about it. Then Beau kind of got the whole thing started with recruiting guys. I thought it was a really cool idea to get a group of Buffs together and be able to play together again.”

BSN: What player are you most excited to play with?

AD: “I’m definitely excited to get back together wight the guys I played with in college, especially Marcus Relphorde and Sab, but I’m also looking forward to playing with the guys that I didn’t have a chance to play with like Richard Roby and Marcus Hall. There’s a lot of talented players that have been throughout the program so to get the opportunity to play with them, and talk to them about the careers that they’ve had, that’ll be really cool.”

BSN: Do you think you guys have a good chance at taking it the $1,000,000?

AD: “I think we have a good shot, honestly, we have a really talented team. Guys who have played overseas and are continuing to play overseas and have been successful. We arent going to be the biggest team, but I guess the trend in the game right now is playing small, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

BSN: Obviously there are some stacked rosters out there, but can having that common ground and pride about the name across your chest help this team?

“Yeah absolutely, I don’t think there’s going to be really anybody with an ego or only looking at this as a way to get exposure. We will naturally get exposure, but I think everybody’s reason for playing in this is to represent Colorado and to get a group of guys that played for our great university together and see what we can do.”

Team Colorado will tip off on July 11th on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles, you can see their West Region bracket below.











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