If you’ve watched a CSU basketball game this season, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the Rams’ new 6-foot-10 center Colton Iverson, who has been a menace on the boards so far this year.
Iverson is in his first and only year of eligibility at CSU after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules after coming to Fort Collins from the University of Minnesota. But his journey to becoming the Rams’ leading scorer and second-leading rebounder this year was at times a rocky one.
Coming out of Yankton high school in South Dakota, Iverson decided to play basketball at Minnesota, but after struggling in his junior season averaging 5.4 points and 5 rebounds per game, he decided it was time for a change.
“I had a great experience at Minnesota, proved some things,” Iverson said. “But it just didn’t work out, I wasn’t developing as much as I thought I would and so I thought (about) just taking a year off and re-evaluating the system I work in and it’s working out great right now.”
During the year he took off, Iverson practiced with the Rams and got acquainted with CSU’s four returning seniors from the previous year both on and off the court.
“He’s huge. That (was) my impression of him, why is this big dude here?” senior forward Greg Smith said.
“Being from Nebraska, you see those guys from South Dakota, you’ve seen them on TV before, you’re just happy to see someone that big come into your program with that much skill, and he’s making an impact now, obviously.”
It’s come together for Iverson because of his passion for playing the game of basketball and desire to be the best.
“He likes to play,” CSU coach Larry Eustachy said. “And he would play if he was 5’ 10” and most guys his size are playing because they’re that size.”
Iverson’s love of the game started from an early age, as both of his parents and his two sisters each have played collegiate basketball in the state of South Dakota.
The tradition of his family’s experience taught from an early age that he wanted to play basketball at a high level.
“How can you not want to play when you’re raised in a basketball family, you know, follow the tradition,” Iverson said. “And just learning from my parents and my sisters, watching them and I just wanted to keep playing as long as possible and I think it’s every kid’s dream to play D-I.”
After realizing his dream of becoming a main cog of a Division-I basketball team, the next goal for Iverson and the rest of the Rams is to be successful in the hopes of making a run in the NCAA tournament.
But according to Iverson and the Rams, the focus is on getting better right now in preparation of playing their best basketball at the end of the year.
“There’s a lot of things that can happen between now and March but I assume Colton’s gonna continue to practice hard,” Eustachy said.
“I just think he’ll get better, it may not show up in the numbers because teams are gonna start playing him different. He’s gonna see double teams, maybe even three guys on him so it’s hard to look that far ahead.”
So Iverson has finally found a home at Colorado State and the team chemistry that has been in the making since the fall of 2011 is now on display for the new-look Rams.
“The character of the guys on this team is outstanding,” Iverson said. “I couldn’t have asked for better teammates. Every single person on this team is on the same page, we work hard every day, we know what our goals are and we won’t let each other down.”