Uthoff's Meteoric Rise Gets UI Attention

During a storied run to the National Championship game, Butler's Gordon Hayward made a big splash as a tall wing with solid ball handling skills and an uncanny ability to get his teammates the ball. A player out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is beginning to draw comparisons to Hayward, and Illinois is showing him quite a bit of interest.

Not a name that many knew prior to three months or so ago, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, product Jarrod Uthoff is attracting a lot of new attention with his wide range of skills and ability to win.

"I've worked harder, and I think I've improved quite a bit since last summer," Uthoff explains. "Just been putting in a lot of time. Ball handling and shooting and hitting the weights."

Especially on this summer's AAU circuit, Uthoff has made a name for himself and is beginning to be a coveted prospect by many high-major programs.

"I play for a great team, the Iowa Barnstormers, with a lot of great players, we've won 4 tournaments already this year."

His versatility not only helps him on the court, but it also enables his teammates to excel. These characteristics make Uthoff a good leader on top of being a solid basketball player.

"Just being versatile, being able to go in the post if I have the mismatch and then taking the big guys out to the perimeter. I definitely need to get stronger though."

And these types of traits are what cause many to draw parallels between Uthoff and the former Butler Bulldog.

"I think I probably am most similar to Gordon Hayward, just because he plays on the wing and is about my height and is a great player."

Hayward is likely a top 15 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, but Uthoff still has a while before he's even in college. With schools across the country giving him attention, he talked about what he's seeking in a college and what his plans are for exploring his future.

"I look at the coaching staff, the players, the facilities, the type of basketball they play and how I fit in."

And Uthoff also puts in work in the classroom as well, holding a 4.0 grade point average.

"The education is a big part of what I'm looking for. It has to be a good educational school too."

Right now, Uthoff is just taking things in and isn't playing favorites quite yet.

"All of the schools that have offered me have been good, and kept in contact. I really don't have any favorites yet."

One school that has grabbed Uthoff's attention has been Illinois, which utilizes strong passers and good shooters in Coach Bruce Weber's motion offense. He made an unofficial visit to Champaign-Urbana recently.

"It (Illinois) is definitely a good choice. I got to play with the guys and that was really fun. I plan on going out there again and getting a tour of the campus sometime this summer. (Mike) Tisdale is a pretty good post. Mike Davis is a really good player too. Demetri (McCamey) at point is also really good."

Many people are aware of the work Illini assistant coach Jerrance Howard does, but don't sleep on assistant coach Jay Price, who puts in plenty of work too, especially with out-of-state prospects.

"Coach Price has been talking to me. It's been great. He's a really nice guy."

Despite a busy summer, Uthoff wants to be sure to get around and check out a few of the schools on his list.

"I plan to go take a visit to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona State, and maybe to Harvard. I'll probably try to play with the players at a couple schools though."

Like many other prospects, Jarrod relies a lot on those closest to him for advice throughout the college selection and recruiting process.

"My family has probably the biggest influence on me. I'm not sure yet if distance will be a factor."

Uthoff says he plans to narrow his focus in the near future and take some visits.

"I hope to at least have my schools narrowed down by June. Probably 3 to 5 by June."

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