With senior Traevon Jackson headed out the door, Wisconsin officially welcomed another Ohioan to take his place on Wednesday when 6'5, 200-pound jack-of-all-trades Khalil Iverson signed a national letter of intent to play for the Badgers.
Iverson becomes the first spring signing for Bo Ryan since Ryan Evans in 2008, joining early signing period pickups Brevin Pritzl, Alex Illikainen and Charlie Thomas in the 2015 class. The Delaware, Ohio product was a second-team all-state pick by the AP in Ohio's largest division as a senior, averaging nearly a triple double -- 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists per game.
"One look at Khalil and you see all the physical attributes of a phenomenal athlete that can impact the game in so many ways," Ryan said in a statement Wednesday. "But, perhaps the most intriguing and overlooked qualities of Khalil’s game are his unselfishness and passing ability. He’s an exceptional talent that could dominate games at any point."
The coaching staff was drawn to Iverson's work ethic, unselfish play and commitment to winning. Iverson is driven, no question. He has experienced tragedy in his life, losing his father unexpectedly last November.
"He's been using it as fuel," [Delaware coach Jordan] Blackburn said. "He worked hard before, but he's worked even harder since that happened. I'm sure his dad is smiling down on him."
It's no wonder why Wisconsin having three players from Iverson's home state on the roster this past season and bringing in a full show of support (Ryan, Lamont Paris and Greg Gard) resonated with the young man when it came time to making a decision.
After Iverson accepted Ryan's offer, Blackburn explained what makes Iverson great:
"They wanted him to work on his dribbling, especially in traffic," Blackburn said. "And they wanted him to improve (his shooting) from 15, 16 feet on out and keep getting stronger. One of the things coach Gard said the first time he came back (last week) was that he could really tell he's been working on his game and he was impressed by the improvements that he's made."
Possessing similar height, weight and athleticism, Iverson has already drawn comparisons -- from Bo himself -- to former Badger great Alando Tucker. And that worked out pretty good, right Tuck? Reports of Iverson's vertical leap range from 38 to 40 inches, to go along with his 6'10 wing span.
There's not a more impactful player on any team in the area than Iverson. Is his team's top scorer, rebounder, assist man and shot blocker— Zach Fleer (@ZachFleerLGHL) February 4, 2015
Where Iverson might have an advantage on Tucker is his already muscular build, plus the fact that he can handle the ball. On a Wisconsin team that loses so much firepower from its Final Four teams, Iverson has a great chance to find some early minutes because of his ability to play at least three positions on the wing. Like Tucker, who became a freshman starter after five games, Iverson walks into a situation ready to contribute while one of the best coaching staffs in the country molds him.
* * *
The athletic department's full release is below.
Badgers add Khalil Iverson to Class of 2015
Ohio native joins three others signed for coming fall
April 15, 2015
MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin head men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan announced Wednesday that high school senior Khalil Iverson has signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin and play basketball for the Badgers beginning in the fall of 2015.
"Khalil is a young man who has persevered through a lot both on and off the court to make himself into an exceptional player and an even better person," Ryan said. "Our staff and program are ecstatic to have Khalil joining our Badger family and believe he is only scratching the surface of how impactful he can be down the road.
"One look at Khalil and you see all the physical attributes of a phenomenal athlete that can impact the game in so many ways. But, perhaps the most intriguing and overlooked qualities of Khalil’s game are his unselfishness and passing ability. He’s an exceptional talent that could dominate games at any point but he was always most concerned about involving his teammates, playing unselfishly and winning. Those are qualities that have been cornerstones of our program’s success."
Iverson joins Wisconsin’s Class of 2015 that already includes Alex Illikainen (Grand Rapids, Minn.), Brevin Pritzl (De Pere, Wis.) and Charlie Thomas (Clarksville, Md.).
"We’ve always tried to take a diligent approach when evaluating potential student-athletes to make sure we find the right fit for our program and university," Ryan added. "Khalil’s willingness to keep improving and working towards his goals were very revealing about him and his character. He stayed the course and has developed into a terrific young man who I’m positive will represent the University of Wisconsin in all the right ways in the future."
6-5, 200, Forward
Delaware, Ohio (Rutherford B Hayes)
A native of Delaware, Ohio, Khalil Iverson averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 2.8 blocks and 2 steals per game as a senior at Hayes High School en route to earning first-team All-Ohio selection. With a school-record 88 starts and 93 games played, Iverson finished as the school’s all-time leading rebounder (897), ranked second all-time for points scored (1,222) and fourth all-time in assists (416) in school history.
An all-district and all-conference honoree all four years at Hayes, Iverson was also named OCC Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015. He led central Ohio in rebounds and assists as a senior, helping the Pacers to a mark of 20-5 in 2014-15.
As a junior, Iverson averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, guiding Hayes to 21 wins and a share of the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division championship.
– #Badgers –