The Denver Nuggets had just completed their first training camp session Tuesday, and their 20 players dispersed to various corners of Creighton's spacious practice gym.

Some guys fired off dozens of shots on eight different hoops. Others simply stretched out underneath a rim. A few sat along a sideline as athletic trainers wrapped ice packs around their legs.

Denver coach Michael Malone examined all this before he huddled with reporters, who were curious what he thought of the 2-year-old facility that the Nuggets specifically traveled across state lines to utilize.

"I wish we could take it back to Denver," Malone said with a chuckle.

He wasn't joking, though.

The Nuggets took full advantage of the Championship Center on Tuesday morning, their first of nine closed practices over six days in Omaha this week. Creighton's facility — particularly the side-by-side full-length courts — was exactly as advertised.

“We're thrilled,” Malone said. “One of the (Bluejays) coaches said, 'Is there anything we can get you guys?' I looked around this gym.”

The Nuggets had all they needed.

With just one court at their home arena, the Pepsi Center, they couldn't have kept everyone on the floor while they installed offensive concepts. They couldn't have set up multiple stations to work on defensive principles. They couldn't have concluded their first practice in the manner they did Tuesday — with a dozen guards and forwards spread out at multiple baskets, firing up 3-pointers, jumpers and free throws.

“This is a state of the art, beautiful (facility),” Malone said. “Very, very excited to be here in Omaha. … This allows us to have a great training camp. Everything here is just perfect and what we're looking for.”

The Bluejays gladly welcomed them in. Several CU players and coaches watched Tuesday's workout from the second-story overhang. They interacted with a few Denver guys after practice ended. Senior guard Maurice Watson had started up a shooting routine before the Nuggets were even out of the gym.

Creighton officially opens practice Friday.

Jameer Nelson, the 12-year pro out of St. Joseph's, made sure to get the lowdown Tuesday. He'd actually been recruited by the Bluejays back in the day. He's been familiar with the program ever since. So he wasn't surprised at all with what he saw Tuesday.

“I'd talked to some people and they were raving about the facility,” Nelson said.

Creighton's practice courts didn't disappoint.

“I haven't been in too many collegiate facilities like this,” Nelson said. “It's one of the reasons why we're here. They did a great job with this. I saw the locker room. The player lounge. It's beautiful, man.”

Said veteran guard Mike Miller: "Big-time facility. It's as good as I've seen. They should be proud of this. It's big-time.”

Miller admittedly didn't know what to expect. He's from Mitchell, S.D., which is about four hours away from the CU campus. He said he is glad to be back in this region for a bit. But he didn't know where Creighton practiced.

So many guys on Denver's roster hadn't even been to Omaha before. Malone included.

A week in Nebraska? Training at a private university? The Miami Heat are going to The Bahamas. The Los Angeles Lakers went to Hawaii last year.

The Nuggets had no complaints Tuesday, though.

“For us, this is a business trip,” Malone said. “Being in this gym is what it's all about. This is going to allow us to have a very productive training camp."

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.