After losing in their first-round series to the Oklahoma City Thunder, much of the Denver Nuggets current roster is up in the thin mile-high air as of now.
Veteran and team captain Kenyon Martin is an unrestricted free agent, as is the everlasting enigma J.R. Smith, while starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo, newly acquired small forward Wilson Chandler and backup guard Gary Forbes are all restricted free agents.
Added to the uncertainty is the fact that center Nene can opt out of his contract a year early this offseason, and he discussed the possibility of doing just that on Monday with the Denver Post's Chris Dempsey.
While the Nuggets' front office has already said publicly that they want to re-sign both Afflalo and Nene, nothing is certain in these turbulent times.
So, with the possibility of one—if not both—of Denver's starting big men leaving the Mile High City, the Nuggets have already began working out possible replacements.
One of those players, Colorado State's Andy Ogide, is a strong and savvy 6'9”, 245-pound power forward.
Ogide, who I had the pleasure of interviewing recently, is an intelligent and humble man with the strongest of work ethics and he possesses leadership qualities as well.
And besides his strong character, which would help with the Nuggets, Ogide is a beast in the paint while relentlessly rebounding or on offense.
Ogide specializes on the low-block, something neither of the current Nuggets' bigs do overly well, and he's got quick feet for being so burly. Ogide works his hook shot well, he dunks with ferocity and he wants people to know he's got a sweet shot.
When talking about his biggest strengths Ogide said, “Being a frequent rebounder, and I can shoot the ball pretty well. I didn't get to show it much here at CSU because they needed me to score down low so much but I can shoot the ball.”
“It will be a big plus at the next level, being able to face the basket and hit shots.”
No doubt, Andy.
The Nuggets are in the middle of a youth movement, with Ty Lason (second year) and Arron Afflalo (third year) as starters last season, and Timofey Mozgov (Rookie), Gary Forbes (Rookie) Kosta Koufos (second year), Danilo Gallinari (second year) and Wilson Chandler (third year) all on the roster—Andy Ogide could fit in as the young team learns and grows together.
And apparently the Nuggets' brass was impressed with Ogide's play. In an interview with the Rocky Mountain Collegian Ogide said, “Everybody from the Nuggets was there. From the president to coach (George) Karl to the general manager. All the coaches were there.”
Ogide continued, “I’m going to have to work harder. That’s what one of the Nuggets assistant coaches said, just keep working and I’ll be all right. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
Something Andy Ogide won't have a problem doing.
He discussed his strong work ethic in my interview with him, and what he's doing to prepare for the coming NBA Draft in late June.
“I work out just about every day. At least five times a week I workout. We run drills that NBA teams do and they're good drills,” Ogide explained.
“Mostly, what I'm doing right now is focusing a lot on my jump shot, just trying to (improve) my game as much as I can to the point where it's very basic. Hitting open shots and playing with energy.”
And make no mistake about it, playing in the NBA is a definite dream and goal of Ogide's.
“Playing in the NBA has always been a goal, since I was little, it's been a dream,” said Ogide. “To be here and have the opportunity, I just can't wait to see what happens.”
“This lockout might make it a lot tougher than it would have been, but I'm a battler and I'm fighting in every single workout I get and every chance I get to play in front of somebody.”
“I can only do my part to control what I can.”
By the sounds of it, Andy Ogide did just that and did well in the workout with the Denver Nuggets, he was invited back to a pre-draft workout in Denver with other prospects.
Making the NBA couldn't happen to a better guy than Ogide, and with all the work he put in turning the Colorado State Rams around from a 9-21 team to 19-11 in only three seasons, Ogide deserves to be drafted.
Denver Nuggets fans would be lucky to have him to root for in the future.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being the CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman is a Denver Nuggets and NBA Featured Columnist for bleacherreport.com, the Colorado/Utah Regional Correspondent for stadiumjourney.com, a weekly contributor to milehighhoops.com and a contributor to milehighreport.com writing on the Denver Broncos.
Rich also heads up PR for K-Biz and Beezy, a Colorado-based rap group.
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