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Uthoff will shake rust during busy summer

[ 0 ] July 5, 2013 |

NORTH LIBERTY, Ia. — Ask Jarrod Uthoff which part of his game has improved the most since he left Wisconsin in the spring of 2012, and he can’t narrow it down.

 “I think every facet of my game has improved,” Uthoff said. “From shooting to ballhandling to strength … everything.”

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who loves versatile players in his lineup, will have another one when Uthoff takes to the floor after two seasons on the sidelines. The former Cedar Rapids Jefferson all-stater redshirted his freshman season at Wisconsin, then sat again after transferring to Iowa. 

He’s had two full college seasons of practice under his belt, and zero games.

“Nothing is going to be like when I step on the court,” the 6-foot-8 forward said. “It’s going to be a whole another experience. Playing in the Prime Time League is good for my game, and it’s nice to get some games in. But it’s not like the actual thing in November.”

The time on the sidelines has given Uthoff time to get stronger and polish his game, a process that is ongoing.

“I just keep working to get better,” Uthoff said. “I still need to work on my ballhandling so I can break guys down off the dribble. I’m just working on every part of my game.”

Two things stand out while watching Uthoff play in the PTL. One, he doesn’t hunt shots.

“I try not to take too many shots, and just let the game come to me,” Uthoff said. “I’m not thinking offense first.”

Second is Uthoff’s wingspan. His long reach allows him to keep balls alive at both ends of the floor.

“I’d say it probably helps me most on defense,” Uthoff said.

Forward Aaron White led the Hawkeyes in rebounding last season at 5.9 overall and 6.4 in Big Ten games. Uthoff looks to have the game to challenge White for the team lead in that category.

“We’ll see,” Uthoff said with a smile.

Uthoff, who has three seasons of eligibility remaining at Iowa, will be getting in plenty of travel between now and the start of school. He’ll leave July 20 to play for the East Coast All-Stars in the Four Nations Cup in Tallinn, Estonia. 

His team will play four games between July 22 and 28. Shortly after Uthoff returns to Iowa City, the Hawkeyes will hold 10 official practices in preparation for a six-game tour of England and France.

“It’s going to be a busy summer,” Uthoff said. “I’ll already be in the flow of things when we get back.”

Iowa-Iowa State revisited: A Cy-Hawk showdown of sorts will take place July 12 in Kazan, Russia, when the United States and Canada meet in the final preliminary game at the World University Games.

Iowa’s Aaron White plays for the U.S. team. Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim plays for the Canadian team. The last time they squared off, in December, White had 18 points and seven rebounds as the Hawkeyes beat visiting Iowa State 80-71. Ejim had four points and five rebounds.


Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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