The news from the weekend said that former Cedar Rapids Jefferson standout (and 2011 Mr. Basketball in Iowa) Jarrod Uthoff was going to be deciding between Iowa and Iowa State "in a few days." Well, it's a few days later and he's made his decision -- welcome home, Mr. Uthoff.
"It’s official: I’m going to be a Hawkeye," Uthoff said. "I just think it would be the best fit for me.
"It’s something I thought about the whole time. I just wanted to make sure this is the right fit for me."
Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 forward, will pay his own way for the next school year. He is ineligible to compete next season, per NCAA rules.
Per Dochterman's article, Uthoff will have three years of eligibility remaining come the 2013-14 season (which clarifies a confusing point from this weekend). He's also expected to be on scholarship at Iowa when that season tips off. Uthoff becomes the most notable player to transfer to Iowa since Adam Haluska came to his senses almost a decade ago and transferred away from Iowa State. It's a welcome change of pace for a program that's usually been on the other end of transfer sagas.
Uthoff chose Iowa without making an official visit and without being able to be in contact with "any Iowa athletics officials" (which presumably doesn't include Iowa players) unless he enrolls at Iowa and attends classes. (So if he enrolls in summer school at Iowa, he would be able to contact Fran and the rest of the Iowa staff.) His decision will probably raise the specter of tampering, but there's been not even a sniff of any substantial evidence in that regard. It's not like he wasn't familiar with Iowa -- he's from Cedar Rapids and strongly considered Iowa during his recruitment a few years ago, for God's sake.
As far as where Uthoff fits into Iowa's team some 17 months from now... good question and one that we probably won't be able to answer until we see how next year's Iowa team shapes up. He doesn't fill a glaring need -- he's not an athletic wingman or an experienced guard or a proven low-post scoring threat. He's a fairly lanky 6-8 forward with a good scoring touch (he averaged 26.1 ppg as a HS senior) and his game seems a little Aaron White-y -- I'm sure they can find a spot for him. Welcome aboard.
And while the primary benefit of Uthoff's decision to transfer is obvious -- it adds another skilled basketball player to the team, duh -- there are some delicious ancillary benefits, too. One, it's a nice little "eff you" to Bo Ryan, who is certainly not one of our favorite coaches 'round these parts (especially after all the Iowa prepsters he's plucked away to Madtown). Two, it's going to fan the flames of the Iowa-Wisconsin basketball rivalry. Between the quality of the games (usually pretty high), Iowa's recent winning streak (ending several years of futility and actually making it into a rivalry), and now the player movement between the programs, this is getting pretty exciting. The Delanybot 9000 may be doing its damndest to diminish the Iowa-Wisconsin football rivalry, but the Iowa-Wisconsin basketball rivalry is flourishing. And the games the next few years should be really damn fun.
(TFJ to commenter Kilometers Davis for the title of this post.)