The Wonder Years, The Georgetown Years.
1994-95 College Season
Allen Iverson finished high school as the best ball player (and football player, he was AP player of the year in Virginia) in the country. He had abilities Charlie Ward could only write home about. In Hampton, VA, Iverson is still an icon, a legitimate dream. America's most gifted baller. Imagine that.
In high school, Kansas coach Roy Williams, former NC assistant coach who once coached Michael Jordan, said Iverson "might be the best guard I've ever seen". That tells it all about Iverson's potential coming out of high school. Another quote that describes Answer's talent is this one, coming from Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson: "I've been to three calf shows, nine horse ropings and seen Elvis once. But I have never seen anything like this in my life." Wow.
Instead of walkin' 'round the neighbouthood, frontin', wantin' to be a superstar in a Hoya T-shirt, Allen made the dream come true. Heading into the prestigious private catholic Georgetown University, Iverson was a rough talent. He needed a good coach. A protective person. Which he found in G'Town coach John Thompson.
Trying to honor the heritage of Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Patrick Ewing Allen faced a challenge. Just like Mike, the master himself, Iverson took the challenge and succeeded. In the 94 - 95 season Iverson was honored "Big East Rookie-of-the-year" and "Big East Defensive player-of-the-year". Next season. Iverson was more controlled, confident and well coached than last year.
Iverson said: "Coach [Thompson] was like a father figure to me, right off hand...it just clicked" He added: "Ninety percent of having an relationship with him is things that occur off-court. He helped me through last year. I didn't want to come here and just do anything. Any problems that I have, I can go to him and he'll sit down and listen. It is a lot more than player-coach between us. I don't think I could have made it through last year without him." Thompson on Iverson: "He did all I expected him to do last year. When he didn't, we sat down and talked."
1995-96 College Season
Summer camp - Iverson getting loose in an NBA atmosphere, he put his whole package together and showed the critics what basketball was about on his end. Believe this: He averaged close to 50 points a game against teams that included a host of NBA players. Believe this: he scored over 70 points three times, often playing only half the game. Believe this: he told his coach during the third quarter of a game, down by 26 and with only 20 points, to give him the ball every time down the court. Result? Victory. Oh yeah. Allen finished with 81. Believe it. "I think I play a lot better in an NBA atmosphere. It was wide open, run'n'gun, man-to-man all game - and that's the game I like to play."
That year, everyone's mind was on the NBA. Except Allen's. Choosing Georgetown University, Allen had to give priority to basketball - and no longer football ("I miss the game so much"). Off the court, coach Thompson helped Iverson to fight off the rumors - and temptation - of turning pro after the season. Still, as we all know, Iverson was forced to leave Thompson and Georgetown after his sophomore season. His youngest sister was terribly ill and desperately needed medical treatment, something Allen's family couldn't afford. To save his sister's life, Allen left Georgetown and headed for the NBA.
The rest we all know.... "With the first pick in the 1996 NBA draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select..Allen Iverson from Georgetown University!" It was no longer a dream. No longer was it what he worked for to give his family money and food on the table. No longer was it just a "future possibility". Allen was off to the pros.
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