IOWA CITY — Jarrod Uthoff left Wisconsin two months ago looking for the perfect place to restart his college basketball career. The right fit was just a quick drive from his hometown of Marengo depending on the direction.
For a week Uthoff contemplated heading east to Iowa City or moving west to Ames. In the end, the pull to Iowa was too strong for Uthoff, who chose the Hawkeyes.
“I wanted to stay close to home,” Uthoff said Wednesday night. “This is why it’s a tough decision for me. Both are up-tempo, both are up-and-coming. That’s why it took so long for me to decide. It doesn’t hurt that Iowa is 30 minutes from home.”
Despite numerous reports of his imminent decision to select Iowa, Uthoff said he didn’t finalize his choice until Wednesday.
“It’s something I thought about the whole time,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure this is the right fit for me.”
Per NCAA transfer rules, Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 forward, will have to sit out next season.
Uthoff red-shirted last year at Wisconsin and requested a scholarship release following the season. Uthoff was restricted by Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan from contacting schools from the Big Ten, ACC schools, Marquette, Iowa State and Florida. The situation went viral nationally, and Uthoff appealed those restrictions. After a meeting with Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez, the school rescinded all restrictions except for the Badgers’ Big Ten rivals.
Uthoff, 6-foot-8 forward, will have to pay his own way to school next year and cannot talk with Iowa officials because of that restriction in place. He will be eligible to compete at Iowa for three seasons beginning in 2013-14. A source with knowledge told The Gazette that Uthoff will earn a scholarship beginning with the 2013-14 season.
“I can’t talk to Fran (McCaffery), the coaching staff, anyone on campus until the first day when I’m enrolled and taking classes,” Uthoff said.
Uthoff took spring visits to Creighton and Iowa State. He also considered Marquette and Florida. He will play in the summer Prime Time League in North Liberty with other Iowa players.
Uthoff earned Iowa’s 2011 Mr. Basketball honor at Cedar Rapids Jefferson after averaging a state-high 26.1 points. Iowa diligently recruited Uthoff in 2010, shortly after Coach Fran McCaffery took over as head coach. But Uthoff chose Wisconsin over Iowa, Iowa State, Indiana, Illinois and other schools.
“When I was getting recruited by those schools, I really thought Wisconsin was going to be the right fit for me,” Uthoff said. “It turned out that’s not the case.”
Wisconsin plays a methodical, yet highly successful offense that relies on taking high-percentage shots. Iowa features an up-tempo style of play that suits Uthoff’s game, he said.
“Their up-tempo style of play will allow me to have more freedom to play and utilize my versatility,” he said.
Uthoff is glad the process is over and he can concentrate on attending classes at Iowa.
“It is a big relief, just knowing where I’m going and preparing myself for that,” he said.
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