Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff eager to play after contentious transfer from rival Wisconsin

  • Article by: LUKE MEREDITH , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 28, 2013 - 11:35 AM

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Remember Jarrod Uthoff, the kid whose contentious transfer from Wisconsin sparked a national debate last spring?

It's understandable if you don't.

Even his summer league team can't seem to remember his name.

Uthoff — or "Utoff," as it's misspelled on the back of his gray mesh jersey for the recreational league in North Liberty, Iowa — spent the past season working anonymously toward his long-awaited Division I debut.

Uthoff, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, will get his wish after two long years when he's finally eligible for Iowa this winter.

"That's what keeps me going," Uthoff said. "There's a light at the end of the tunnel."

Uthoff's appearance in a summer league game Thursday was one of the first opportunities Iowa fans had to see him play.

For a while, it looked as though he might never play for the Hawkeyes — or any other team remotely connected to Wisconsin.

Uthoff, a 6-foot-10 forward and Iowa's Mr. Basketball in 2011, committed to coach Bo Ryan and the rival Badgers before his senior year at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The Hawkeyes heavily recruited Uthoff, a versatile big man who lived about 20 minutes from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. But they were just starting a major transition between Todd Lickliter and current coach Fran McCaffery and were mired in the Big Ten basement.

Uthoff, a skilled shooter and passer for his size, seemed a perfect fit for Ryan's system.

He never was, though.

That's when the trouble began.

Uthoff sought to transfer from Wisconsin after not playing as a freshman in 2011-12. Ryan, who has rarely lost a player during his highly successful tenure in Madison, initially denied Uthoff permission to contact a number of schools, including those in the Big Ten and ACC, rival Marquette among others.

Ryan eventually relented and removed restrictions on any school outside of the Big Ten. But Ryan's actions prompted a backlash among many who wondered why coaches who are free to move to any school they want could restrict players from doing the same.

Uthoff stayed in the Big Ten anyway, electing to go to Iowa.

The restrictions prevented Uthoff from speaking with anyone connected to the Hawkeyes until he enrolled in classes. He also had to pay for school during the 2012-13 school year.

Though the soft-spoken Uthoff never sought to create a national dialogue about NCAA transfer rules, he's convinced he made the right call.

"The first couple of weeks, I knew it," Uthoff said. "It was everything. The atmosphere, the Hawkeyes community, the fan support. Everything."

The Hawkeyes are happy to add Uthoff, now on scholarship, to what could be their best team in nearly a decade.

Uthoff can stretch the floor as a big man with a mid to long-range jump shot and improved ball-handling skills. Uthoff also has the size and athleticism to score from the blocks through tip-ins or dunks, and he can defend multiple positions.

"Jarrod has been playing really well this summer. He can hit outside shots, and obviously he creates matchup problems for those post guys inside," Iowa senior forward Zach McCabe said. "He was always working on his game, just getting ready. Just talking to him, he's sick of sitting out. He wants to play."

Uthoff will join a crowded frontcourt that includes centers Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni and McCabe, star Aaron White and Melsahn Basabe at forward.

Even with all that depth, Uthoff should push for significant playing time on a team expected to finish in the top half of the Big Ten and snap a seven-year NCAA tournament drought.

"I couldn't be happier. I'm with a great team. I love my teammates, and I'm having a lot of fun," Uthoff said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 42 3rd Qtr
Phoenix 55
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 3rd Prd
Vancouver 3
Chicago 3 3rd Prd
Anaheim 0
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 25 2nd Half 8:02
Arizona 43
Kent State 42 2nd Half 6:40
Buffalo 69
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close