Kuran Iverson has a keen last night and a game worthy of it. He is Allen Iverson’s second cousin, a 6-foot-9 high school forward whose road to college has been as bumpy as the former NBA star’s retired life has been.
In the last year, Kuran Iverson has been ranked the No. 5 player in the country, to No. 65 to 25. The perception of him has changed as his knees have bothered him. Before going through growing pains, he was a dominant player. With achy knees, he slid considerably. His knees feeling better, he’s on a nice ascent again.
All the while, he carries a name that demands basketball success. He said he’s only met Allen Iverson once, at a family reunion.
“It’s just a last name,” Iverson said to rivals.com. “I don’t worry about the last name. The name at the end of the day doesn’t get you where you need to go.”
Where Iverson needs to go is up. The slippage has been considerable.
“Everyone loved him, then everyone jumped off his bandwagon,” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi said. “And now everyone’s jumping on his bandwagon again.”
“I don’t really care about the rankings that much,” Iverson said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a number.”
One thing his cousin never lacked was effort. Allen Iverson’s stock answer about his success was: “Because I play every game like it’s my last.”
Kuran Iverson got complacent last summer, some observers said, uninspired to give full effort because his talent was so superior to much of his competition. When criticism set in, he worked hard to reverse the perception after he knees got better. He sprouted up four inches.
“Sometimes, I think he just (knew) he’s more talented than a lot of players so he used to not go as hard,” said Iverson’s AAU coach, Andre Harrington. “But now he just wants to prove a point at every camp he’s going to. I’m proud of what he’s doing.”
The biggest changes with Iverson were physical. His knee was bothering him last year and caused him to take some time off. When he returned to action, he wasn’t quite in playing shape. Harrington said the knee pain resulted from Iverson’s rapid growth.
Iverson said the knee pain limited his jumping ability. When he couldn’t jump, his ranking took a dive. “The way he looks now is the way you expected him to look as a freshman going into his sophomore year,” Bossi said. “Last summer, it didn’t even seem like it was him.”
His knees are feeling better now, but that’s not the only way he’s changed. Although Iverson said he doesn’t worry about rankings, perhaps his plunge served as a wakeup call. He headed into this year’s AAU season much more serious about his game.
“I’ve just been playing and trying to get back to where I was,” Iverson said.
Iverson was one of the biggest movers in the most recent Rivals150 list that came out on July 3. He isn’t back in the top 10 just yet, but he certainly is back on the rise.
Now that he’s back in peak shape, Iverson once again is displaying the ability that made him such a heralded recruit in the first place. Although he has the size of a forward, he possesses the skill set of a guard.
“Most players his size are interior players,” Bossi said. “He can play on the perimeter and it’s not a forced thing, it’s natural. He can handle the ball.”
That is what makes Iverson so unique.
“I don’t care who’s out there, there’s nobody 6-foot-9 with guard skills like that right now,” Harrington said. “I just want him to prove his point.”
Now that his stock is soaring again, Iverson wants to make sure he doesn’t waste that talent. Schools showing interest in Iverson include Florida, Memphis, UConn, Oklahoma State and Seton Hall. Iverson mentioned Syracuse, Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, and Arizona as some of the programs that appeal to him the most.