Iverson hopes to continue to impress Ainge

Iverson hopes to continue to impress Ainge
July 1, 2013, 9:15 pm
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BOSTON — Freshman ballers out there getting little-to-no-playing time, take note.

Even if you think you are far removed from being an NBA player, that doesn't mean you're not being watched by NBA teams.

Colton Iverson burst onto the national scene as a rebounding machine with Colorado State this past season, but the Boston Celtics have had their eye on him for a number of years.

So when the opportunity to acquire him in the second round of Thursday night's NBA draft presented itself, the C's didn't hesitate.

Although they began the night with just a first-round pick, they bought Indiana's second-round selection, No. 53 overall, which was used to select Iverson.

"I'm real excited to be here," said Iverson.

Iverson, a 7-foot, 255-pound center who averaged 9.8 rebounds per game as a senior, continues the Celtics' efforts to add more beef to their frontline.

In last year's draft, the Celtics drafted 6-9 power forward Jared Sullinger and 7-foot center Fab Melo in the first round.

In addition to Iverson, the C's also selected a 7-footer (Kelly Olynyk) in the first round of Thursday night's draft.

"Those guys (Olynyk and Iverson) are good complimentary players," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "They need guys to carry a load for them, but they could find a place on our team."

While Olynyk will likely see minutes as one of the Celtics' first big men off the bench, Iverson will have to do like all second-round picks which is to play well enough to earn a roster spot, then worry about playing time.

It's too soon to say how quickly, if at all, that opportunity will come.

But Ainge believes Iverson has a good shot at sticking even with what will surely be a crowded roster full of young, hungry prospects such as himself.

"We had him ranked a lot higher than he went," Ainge said. "We were very fortunate to acquire a second round pick to get Colton. Colton is a kid that we've watched since his freshman year in college at the University of Minnesota."

After spending three seasons in the Gophers program with limited playing time, he transferred to Colorado State where he would play just one season after sitting out a year because of NCAA transfer rules.

To his credit, Iverson made the most of his one opportunity in leading the Rams in scoring (14.2 points per game) as well as rebounds (9.8).

And while his play for the Rams turned heads, it only reinforced many of the things Ainge and his scouting staff remembered seeing from Iverson while at Minnesota.

"I loved his intensity from Day One, and identified him as someone we needed to keep a close eye on," Ainge said. "You could see how his work ethic and intensity continued and his offense grew with opportunity."

And now with the Celtics, Iverson once again finds himself face-to-face with an opportunity to be in a better position than the one he's in now.