Kuran Iverson is his own person, and though he’s been criticized over the years for being not focusing on his game, Iverson seems to be coming back around at just the right time. He’s rated in the 20’s and 30’s according to the major scouting services but his upside is undeniable.
Iverson thrives as a result of:
Passing / Vision / Unselfishness: Iverson has always been so talented that he makes hard reads look simple. He’s improved at dropping off passes to big men and finding shooters on the perimeter, but most importantly his attitude in regards to passing seems to have been revitalized. “Everybody’s looking at me so I’m just trying to do as best as I can to get my other teammates the ball,” he said. “There were plays out there where I just drived and kicked and it came in handy. I told the coach that everyone was looking at me so I just wanted to get the ball to my teammates.”
Tough shot maker: Nothing from this weekend illustrates this fact more than the game-tying 3-pointer he hit with under a minute to play in regulation on Saturday afternoon. He caught the ball near mid-court, drove left, stopped on a dime (the defender kept moving and ultimately fell) and nailed a triple on the left side of the court. Just as the case is with passing the ball, Iverson has a way of making tough shots look easy.
In order to reach his potential, Iverson will have to improve:
Patience / Shot Selection: In case you didn’t notice, 6-10 playmakers don’t grow on trees and can become valuable commodities if they learn to play the game properly. “I like LeBron,” said Iverson. “I’m trying to gain the ability to play down low like LeBron and play outside like Kevin Durant. I used to go fast when I was coming up the court but I realized that I don’t have to rush all the time.” In the process of learning how he should be playing the game and as a result of his immense talent, Iverson has the ability to take shots that are questionable at times. There was one time this weekend where he was patient in an isolation situation but decided to shoot a 17-foot fade-away floater from the left corner, which is clearly not the shot of choice within any offense. When he arrives at college next fall one of the biggest learning curves he’ll go through will be becoming more patient and learning what a true good shot is. If he figures out how to assert himself within the offense on a higher level, watch out.
Defensive intensity/motor: No need for my analysis here; Kuran’s got that covered: “I’ve been working on my motor, just getting up and down the floor and playing defense – that’s my main key right now,” said Iverson. “I lacked at that a lot. I just try to pick up my game by doing that and it comes in handy. On the ball defense and off the ball defense. Reading my man, seeing what he’s doing and trying to get a steal to go down to the other end. I have a lot of length so I have an advantage of my opponent. I just try to put my hand up. I try not to get to close [right now] because my feet are sore because I’ve been working out a lot. I just do what I can to keep my opponent in front of me.”
Shooting: Consistency. Repetitions. Game-like situations. Iverson is in the gym and working on his game to improve his shot. “I work out a lot, I have like four workouts a day,” he said. “I’ll shoot like 2,000 jumpers a day. It starts after class. I have my first workout right afterwards. It starts by coming off the chair, sometimes we work on drive-and-kick stuff. My coach will drive and kick it to me sometimes in the corner. Sometimes we work on running up the court, spotting up and shooting. We do a lot of cone drills – come off the cone and just shoot it. Sometimes we’ll have somebody who sets screens for me as a screening dummy. I’m doing a lot to work on my game and get better. I’m trying to get to an elite level so I can play against other people like me.”
Concerns about patience and his motor aside, when he arrives at Memphis in the fall of 2013, Coach Josh Pastner will welcome him with open arms.
“Coach Pastner told me that I’m welcome and he’s ready for me to come,” said Iverson. “He texts me all the time to tell me he’s ready and we have the number 2 recruiting class, so I can’t wait for next year.”
Chris McCullough, 6-9, 205, Forward, Brewster (N.H.) Academy, Committed to Syracuse: Oozing. With. Upside. The combination of size, versatility and athleticism are tantalizing. You watch McCullough (a member of Team Scan during AAU season) play and a typical sequence reads like this during one of his prep school games: