January 12, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado State Rams forward Colton Iverson (45) and guard Dorian Green (22) during the second half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs won 79-72 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Gopher Colton Iverson finding top-25 success in Colorado

Feb 23, 2013; Fort Collins, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams forward/center Colton Iverson (45) brings in a rebound in the second half against the New Mexico Lobos at Moby Arena. The Lobos defeated the Rams 91-82. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Standing at 6-foot-10, South Dakota native Colton Iverson was a staple of the Gopher basketball team from 2008-11.

While his three year stint as a member of the Maroon and Gold didn’t pan out as well as he had hoped, Iverson has found a program that better suits his abilities at Colorado State University.

Iverson is a stat stuffer for the Rams, averaging 14.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, helping the Rams break into the AP Top 25 for the second consecutive week at No. 22.

His numbers as a Ram vastly exceed the numbers he put up in Minnesota, as he averaged a little over five points per game while only managing four rebounds per contest.

But what’s been more impressive about the redshirt senior is his ability to lead his team through the Mountain East conference, breaking personal records in nearly every game and putting him in a good spotlight for the NBA Draft this summer.

On Saturday, the Rams faced No. 16 New Mexico at home, trying to ward off a losing streak after falling to UNLV a few days earlier.

Perhaps it was never meant to be a Rams’ victory as New Mexico’s Kendall Williams scored 46 points on 10-for-13 from beyond the arch — but Iverson pushed his team to keep it close, despite a scoring clinic put on by Williams.

Iverson led his team with 26 points and 15 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds as the Rams lost 91-82.

The 21-6 Rams are second in their conference led by Iverson who is leading the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage.

In March of 2011, Iverson requested to be released from his University of Minnesota scholarship. The coaching staff asked him to reconsider, but despite having to sit out one year because of NCAA Division I transfer rules, he did what was best and left for Colorado.

Who knew the three-star recruit from Yankton, SD would blossom in his senior year into a late NBA first-round draft pick?

When news broke that Iverson was transferring, many didn’t see this as a big loss.

Mo Walker will be able to step up in his place, said some fans. Others looked to Elliot Eliason as his replacement. Yet, most underestimated the ability of the power forward who had garnered offers from Florida, Creighton and Iowa State before deciding to enlist with the Golden Gophers.

As the NCAA Tournament rolls around the corner, Iverson will more than likely be playing as a higher seed than Minnesota. And on draft night at the end of June, Iverson will likely get the call before any Gopher.

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