Nov. 8, 2012
By Gary Ozzello
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Dress pants, a Colorado State basketball polo shirt and dress shoes is no way to sit through a basketball season.
Especially when your new teammates are on the way to the NCAA Tournament.
Just ask Colton Iverson. It has been a long 19 months for the Rams’ big man.
The 6-foot, 10-inch, 261-pound senior from Yankton, S.D., has waited – sometimes not so patiently – for a chance to return to the basketball court.
“Not playing, the depression really hits you on game day when you are in dress pants, a polo. And sitting there in your dress shoes,” he said.
Iverson transferred to Colorado State a year ago, after having played three seasons at the University of Minnesota. He sat out last year under NCAA transfer guidelines, instead honing his game while at the same time challenging active squad members daily during practice.
He gets his chance to return to the court Friday night, when Colorado State opens the regular season by playing host to Montana at 7 p.m. in Moby Arena.
Iverson played in the Rams’ exhibition game win over Metro State, tallying eight points with seven rebounds and a blocked shot as the team’s starting center.
It wasn’t like Iverson wasn’t active last year. He was, actually, on several fronts. Daily, he practiced against his new teammates – individuals he said who are now his best friends. And he diligently took the time to improve his game.
“Being able to watch the games from the sideline, I was able to evaluate the game more,” he said of the year spent watching games from the Rams’ bench. “During practice, I worked on my overall game, especially my footwork, to develop more of a complete all-around game, especially offensively.”
Iverson also said the time on the sidelines provided him a chance to understand and appreciate the rigors of the Mountain West competition.
“I took the time to understand the Mountain West, because it’s quite a bit different than the Big 10,” he said.
As a junior at Minnesota in 2010-11, Iverson started 11 of the Gophers’ 31 games, averaging 5.4 points and five rebounds. A year earlier, he helped to the team to the NCAA Tournament.
Iverson was a much sought-after prep player in Yankton, where he averaged 17.9 points and 12.3 rebounds as a senior. He chose to continue his career at Minnesota, before deciding to transfer to CSU.
Now, he has his sights set on helping Colorado State return to the NCAA Tournament. This time, however, he knows he’ll have a much more active role than a year ago during a season in which the Rams finished 20-12 and earned an at-large berth to the tournament.
“It was hard not to be in games, but I was so excited for the team, doing so well,” Iverson said.
And he knows as a senior he has one last chance to return to the NCAA Tournament with the Rams.
“I want to leave it all on the floor, every day. I have four and a half months left in my collegiate career. We have six seniors on this team, and we want to see how far we can go in the NCAA Tournament, farther than last year,” he said. “We want to compete for the Mountain West title, and make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, and win a lot of road games. Those are our goals.”
Iverson said one advantage for the Rams will be character and chemistry.
“I have great teammates,” he said. “Guys on this team – they have great character, and we have great chemistry. That will be a benefit for our play on the court.”
Iverson and his teammates are also adjusting to first-year coach Larry Eustachy’s style and philosophy.
“We’re still working on ironing out some of the wrinkles in the system. We feel we have a good team, and as soon as we get it right in his system, we have a chance to be really good,” he said.
Friday night’s opener will feature halftime and postgame entertainment by Flippen Out Productions. Included will be a skiing and snowboard exhibition.
Tickets are available in one of the following convenient manners:
- In person: Tickets can be purchased at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket window, which is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
- On the phone: Fans can call toll free at 1-800-491-RAMS (7267) to purchase tickets to any Rams sporting event.
- Online: Tickets can be purchased 24 hours a day, seven days a week at CSURams.com, the official Web site of Rams Athletics.
Note: Prices do not include fees for processing ($1 per ticket) or delivery - $2 print-at-home, $7 mail and $10 will call.