Dufault bulks up to compete with Big 12’s bestIf Austin Dufault’s freshman season at Colorado taught him one lesson, it’s that he wasn’t prepared for the physicality of the Big 12. So, Dufault hit the weight room hard.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
If Austin Dufault’s freshman season at Colorado taught him one lesson, it’s that he wasn’t prepared for the physicality of the Big 12.
So, Dufault hit the weight room hard.
After coming into his freshman season at 205 pounds, the 6-foot-9 forward enters his sophomore season listed at 230 with a more muscular frame and an attitude focused on improving his performance in the paint.
“I feel a lot stronger than I did last year,” Dufault said. “Hopefully it will pay off.”
The Buffaloes open their season at 7 p.m. today against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the first of three home games in five days.
As the season begins, the Killdeer High School graduate and 2008 North Dakota Mr. Basketball said one of his main goals is to use his bigger body to hit the boards harder.
Last season, Dufault started every game and averaged 8.2 points and 3.7 rebounds a game. While his points weren’t so bad for a freshman, he was concerned that as Colorado’s second leading returning rebounder, he’d be asked to carry more of a load there this year.
So, he turned to James Hardy, Colorado’s assistant speed, strength and conditioning coach who works with the men’s basketball team.
“(Dufault) was one of the guys we felt could put on weight,” Hardy said. “He wasn’t extremely skinny or anything like that, but he wasn’t as strong as he possibly could be.”
So Hardy ran Dufault through the ringer, using standard weight training while focusing on workouts that included medicine balls and explosive jumping — with someone hanging on him — to try and improve his power beneath the basket.
“His training was really intense,” Dufault said.
But, Dufault said that’s how it needed to be.
Last season, he had to go head-to-head against some of the best big men in the country and often found himself overmatched and overpowered.
Blake Griffin, the national player of the year out of Oklahoma and the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick by the L.A. Clippers, made a highlight out of him a couple times. This year, the nation’s eyes are on another Big 12 big man — Cole Aldrich, the Kansas center who is an Associated Press Preseason All-American selection.
“In high school, I could just get away with jumping over people and getting rebounds,” Dufault said. “It really took me a while to realize that I’ve got to make contact and be physical with the guy I’m trying to box out first instead of just trying pursue the ball first. A lot of guys in this league are going to be able to out-jump me.”
Dufault knows he has to be ready for another year of going against the biggest man the opposition has to offer.
He’ll be the tallest, heaviest player in Colorado’s starting lineup tonight and said coaches expect him to play the center role.
“It’s new, I had to learn it,” said Dufault, who was used as a swingman on his high school team. “I just want to be on the floor. That’s the main thing. It doesn’t matter what position I play.”