When thinking about Wisconsin Basketball, the first words that come to mind are never “freaky athletic”. But that’s actually the easiest way to describe rising junior Khalil Iverson. Even before he got on campus, videos of his insane dunks had Wisconsin fans salivating. Many fans, including myself, though he could be the next Alando Tucker. However, it hasn’t worked out that way yet. While he has shown flashes on both sides of the ball, he stills lacks the polish and skill to put it all together.
Khalil Iverson has a great motor, constantly makes hustle plays, and uses his athleticism to get a fair amount of blocks and steals. He also is a good rebounder for his size. That was on full display in the NCAA Tournament, when he accounted for 19 total rebounds and 8 offensive rebounds in three games. But he still has a lot to work on. Actually, every part of his game needs to get better if he wants to reach his potential.
On the offensive side of the ball, Iverson needs a lot more polish. Most of his 3.9 points per game came off either cuts, put-backs, or post-ups. He rarely was able to drive the lane or create his own shot off the bounce. One reason for that was his ball handling. Iverson struggled with his control and ball security while driving into the lane.
Khalil Iverson also must drastically improve his shot. He only attempted 13 three-pointers all season, which made it very hard for both him and Ethan Happ to be on the floor at the same time. Like the rest of Wisconsin’s forwards, he also struggled mightily at the free throw line, shooting just 56%. However, there is reason to believe that can get better. Unlike Happ, Iverson doesn’t have a bad stroke. He shot is just too flat. With the right coaching, that can (and needs to) be fixed. With his strength and vertical quickness, Iverson is going to go to the line a lot, and we can’t have a repeat of last season’s debacle.
On defense, Iverson has loads of potential. However, he often cheated, relying on his athleticism to be the equalizer. Many times, that was enough, but it also resulted in him getting burned. If Iverson focuses on playing fundamental perimeter defense, he can be an All-Big Ten caliber defender.
Despite all his weaknesses, there is reason to believe Iverson will be a star at Wisconsin. His athleticism is just something you can’t teach. He is a freak of nature. He is too big and athletic for guards to defend, and too quick for big men to defend. He can truly be a matchup nightmare. In addition, he has a great feel for the game. He was the best player on the team last season at finding space and cutting to the hoop when Ethan Happ or Nigel Hayes had the ball in the post. He also just has a general knack for finding ways to make plays.
If Iverson’s fundamental basketball skills can catch up to his athletic ability, motor, and intelligence, he can be Wisconsin’s next great two-way star. Ethan Happ was on both the regular and defensive All-Big Ten Teams. With enough hard work on his ball handling, shot, and fundamentals, Khalil Iverson can reach that same height.