As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics  own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins  trade) and 51.
Position: Power forward/center
School: St. Bonaventure
Weight: 234 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-America honorable mention, 2012 Atlantic 10 tournament MVP
Key 2011-12 stats: 18.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 57.1 FG%, 43.4 3P%, 77.6 FT%
What he brings: The 22-year-old Canadian has a very effective post game, and in his four years at St. Bonaventure he developed an ability to step out and knock down shots from the perimeter as well. While Nicholson is at his best with his back to the basket, his mid-range game projects to be a valuable asset for him against larger competition in the NBA. Though he’s slightly undersized, his 7-foot-4 wingspan and huge hands also allow him to play much larger.
He has a very high basketball IQ and moves extremely well without the ball, knowing how to space the floor and finding gaps in the defense. Not an exceptional athlete, Nicholson was a solid but unspectacular rebounder at both ends of the floor in college, while his instincts and timing also made him a very good shot-blocker. He’ll need to get a lot stronger and improve his conditioning to be able to hold his ground in the paint at the next level.
Where the Celtics could get him: Nicholson was initially projected to go precisely where the Celtics are drafting in the first round, but his impressive showings in pre-draft workouts might lead to an earlier selection.
Notes: Nicholson graduated in May with a degree in physics. … He ranks second in St. Bonaventure history in points (2,103), field goal percentage (57.5) and blocked shots (244), while sitting fourth in total rebounds (887).
Video: Here’s a look at Nicholson starring for the Bonnies.