When Colton Iverson was a kid, all he wanted to do was play in the NBA.
After receiving an honorable mention for the Associated Press’ All-American team and leading the Rams in scoring (14.6 ppg), rebounding (9.8 rpg) and blocks (25) in his senior year this past season, Iverson is prepared to try to make his dream come true.
“Every kid’s dream when they’re playing a sport when they’re young is to play professional, whether it’s reality or not,” Iverson said.
“I always thought it was reality if I put in enough hard work, which I think I have done and I’m ready for the next step and I think it definitely is reality now.”
Iverson will continue his hard work when he moves to Las Vegas tomorrow to prepare for the NBA Draft in June, while he continues work in his one remaining online class at CSU: Evaluating Contemporary Television.
He has signed on with Pensack Sports Management Group in hopes of becoming the first CSU alumnus to be drafted since Jason Smith was drafted in the first round by the Miami Heat in 2007.
Pensack CEO Ben Pensack and his brother, Adam Pensack, who is the company president, will both work with Iverson in the coming months in order to facilitate his transition from the collegiate level to the professional one.
“We feel that he has a great chance to be drafted,” Ben Pensack said.
“I would say every NBA team that we’ve talked to about him feels that he is going to get drafted. Most scouts that we’ve talked to are saying that they think he’s a mid-second round pick. So we’re gonna go out and try to improve his stock as much as we can and that process is kind of beginning right now.”
That process was set into motion nine years ago, when Iverson started his high school career at Yankton (S.D.) High School as a skinny 14-year old with dreams of playing college basketball.
“He was pretty scrawny, he was kinda tall and lanky and pretty uncoordinated, especially when he was a freshman,” said Randy Gross, Iverson’s high school coach. “But he’s just progressed through his sophomore and junior year and then he was pretty darn good when he was a senior.”
Iverson averaged 17.9 points and 12.3 rebounds per game during his senior season before deciding to continue his basketball career at the highest level available to him at the time at the University of Minnesota.
After three disappointing seasons in which he averaged just 5.28 points and 4.3 rebounds per game with the Gophers, Iverson decided it was time for a change.
Upon the release from his scholarship at Minnesota on the condition of him not transferring to another Big Ten school, Iverson chose to sign on with the Rams and everything started to change.
Iverson redshirted during the 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer rules and used that time to work on his game before exploding onto the national scene this past season.
“I took a big risk leaving Minnesota after three years,” Iverson said. “But I knew if I worked hard in that year off and really dedicated my life to basketball things would work out, and it did.”
Now Iverson is taking the next step in his progression while preparing for the NBA Draft in hopes of fulfilling his lifelong dream of putting on an NBA jersey that bears his name.
“It’s probably something that won’t fade away for probably a month after it happens if I am fortunate enough and blessed enough for that to happen,” Iverson said.
“But I plan on working as hard as I ever have in the next couple of months and proving people wrong and when that day comes, if it does, I’ll be as happy a guy as there is.”
Assistant Sports Editor Andrew Schaller can be reached at email@example.com.