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Nuggets host pre-draft workout No. 12; Furkan Korkmaz scheduled to visit Denver Saturday

Jake Marsing Avatar
June 17, 2016


With the NBA draft less than one week away, the Denver Nuggets are still hard at work scouting prospects who could be available for them on June 23.

The Nuggets hosted their 12th pre-draft workout of the year Friday morning, welcoming Louisiana Monroe power forward Majok Deng, French stars Cornelie Petr and Isaia Crodinier, and Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono to the Mile High City.

Arcidiacono, 22, is one of only a handful of big-name prospects the Nuggets have hosted during their draft evaluation process. During his 144 games at Villanova, Arcidiacono averaged 11.1 points, 3.7 assists, and less than two turnovers.

He was the Big East’s player of the year for the 2014-15 season and led the Wildcats to their first NCAA National Championship victory since 1985. During that national championship season, Arcidiacono averaged 12.5 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, and 4.2 assists per game. He believes his role as a leader on a championship team can help him immensely at the next level.

“Just seeing how I could lead a team and make everyone so connected on the floor, I think I can do that at the next level,” Arcidiacono said. “Just set up the best players on the team and just go out and shoot.”

Despite the long history of the program, Arcidiacono is the only player from Villanova to score more than 1,500 points (1,604) and have more than 500 assists in his career.

This week marked the first time the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament’s most outstanding player had ever visited the city of Denver. He is certainly hoping it won’t be his last.

“I want to get drafted,” Arcidiacono said. “I think there’s a chance I could be drafted in the second round. I’ve been doing so many of these workouts. Teams are interested, but they’re not guaranteeing me anything. I definitely think there’s chance I’ll get drafted. If not, I’ll try and make it onto a summer league team and make an impression from there.”

The Nuggets are in need of a backup point guard, but whether adding another rookie guard to the mix in Denver is a smart move for a team already stocked full with developing guard talent is certainly up for debate. Arcidiacono has his next pre-draft workout scheduled with the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

French guard Isaia Crodinier came into his 10th pre-draft ready to impress Nuggets brass with energy and effort. As the workout began to wrap up, Crodinier unleashed a furious windmill dunk that lit up the gym and caught the eye of general manager Tim Connelly.

For his part, Crodinier was pleased with his performance and the opportunity to work out for NBA coaches and executives.

“For a French guy, it’s a chance to be here. I take a lot of pleasure and enjoy a lot about this process,” Crodinier said. “Workouts give me a chance to discover a new city and workout for a great team and a great organization.”

Crodinier averaged 10.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2 assists last season. He is currently ranked by most scouting organizations in the mid 40’s to mid 50’s, he has two more workouts planned to try and make his way into the NBA by the end of the second round.

Meanwhile, French big man Cornelie Petr put up 8.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks per game during his 2015-16 campaign and also got a shot to work out for Nuggets brass Friday morning.

Despite being one of the more athletic international prospects in this class, Petr has head from plenty of coaches and scouts during his five pre-draft workouts about ways he can improve his game.

Forward Cornelie meets the media following his pre-draft workout with the Nuggets.
Forward Cornelie Petr meets the media following his pre-draft workout with the Nuggets.

“My ball handling, my passing skills, and my physicality,” Petr said. “I think I can run the floor. I’m fast for my height. I can shoot the ball. I can do a bit of everything for my height.”

Petr is 6-foot 11-inches, plays both center and power forward, and certainly isn’t lying about his ability to run the floor. However, his athleticism doesn’t exclude him from the difficulties involved with running the floor at one mile above sea level.

“It was a bit hard with the altitude,” Petr said. “But, it was okay.”

In fact, all four of the prospects who worked out for the Nuggets on Friday mentioned some difficulty playing at altitude. It seemed to affect the big men the most, including Louisiana-Monroe’s Majok Deng.

Deng entered Friday’s workout with arguably the best statistical record of prospect in the building. Last season, the 6 foot 10 inch forward averaged 18.4 points per game, seven rebounds a game and almost two assists.

“I’m just trying to give it everything I’ve got,” Deng said. “This is a great opportunity. It’s humbling.”

Deng expects to have two more workouts before the draft next week and he isn’t the only one. The Nuggets themselves are continuing to schedule prospects for workouts as draft day inches closer and closer. Saturday morning they will host Turkish shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz for an individual workout at Pepsi Center.

Averaging 45.2 percent from three-point-range, Korkmaz is among the best shooters in this class. At just 18-years-old, his ceiling is seen by many scouts around the league as being nearly limitless as gets more time to develop on the court.

Korkmaz is currently projected as a mid to late first-round draft prospect and many have speculated the Nuggets would be likely to target him with either the No. 15 or 19 overall pick.

The Nuggets scouting department has a reputation as one of the best in the league at scouting European players and could target Korkmaz as a so-called “draft and stash” option in the draft next week.


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