Named first-team all-state and Mississippi Valley Conference Player of the Year, Uthoff averaged 26.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game as a senior at Thomas Jefferson HS, and was the highlight of a four-person 2011 signing class that was ranked fourth in the Big Ten.
Now he's taking his talents somewhere else, and it could be to the Big Ten. Uthoff talked with Badger Nation Sunday morning about his decision, the reaction and the next move.
For starters, tell me about the whole process that went into this for you. When did you start thinking about it and when did you finally come to the conclusion that you didn't fit in at Wisconsin as well as you thought you would?
Uthoff: I've been thinking about it for awhile. Having a whole year of being in the system and finding out how the system works, I realized I would be better suited somewhere else.
What was the biggest different from what you thought the system was going to be and what the system actually was? What was the big chance?
Uthoff: Just being in every game and just seeing how it works. Just being at practice, you understand more in the routine than you do as an onlooker in television.
Were there any other factors that led to your decision – teammates, next season, coaches?
Uthoff: It was just the system and what I would benefit most from … what system I would benefit the most from.
What system do you think you would benefit most from? What system do you really think benefit you to be a successful player?
Uthoff: I am not sure. Whatever will utilize my skill set to what I feel it should be used for.
What do you think the real strengths of you game are right now?
Uthoff: Probably a three or a four position. Just playing inside and out.
The last thing you said sounds a lot like the type of players that thrives at Wisconsin, doesn't it?
Well, I guess I am probably looking for something a little bit more up tempo where I can get out and play. I have a pretty good idea of what I am looking for in my head with the process. Playing at Wisconsin, I scouted a lot of different teams going against the first team. I've got to learn a lot of different systems and when I find that, I'll go with the next step.
The people I talked to Jarrod admitted that they were really surprised by your decision. When you talked with Coach Ryan and Coach Close, can you share how they reacted to the news of your decision?
Uthoff: They were surprised. I am just going to say they were surprised.
I assumed they tried to convince you to stay, but you were pretty set?
Uthoff: I was pretty solid. I had been thinking about it for months. I made a decision and decided to stick with it.
Were they respectful of your decision or were they a little bit frustrated?
Uthoff: Uh … I would prefer not to answer that. I want to keep that between me and the coaches.
Most transfers come with certain restrictions, so what options do you have going forward? Where can you or can't you look?
Your AAU coach mentioned that you might be appealing part of your transfer. Can you elaborate on that?
When are you hoping you hear back from your appeal?
Uthoff: My first appeal is to Wisconsin. My second appeal, I believe, is through the NCAA. They said it takes less than seven days, so sometime before Thursday.
You mention you have an idea in your mind of where you want to take your visits and what you are looking for. What places are you hoping to go and take a closer look at?
Uthoff: I am visiting Creighton next week. After that, I'll be visiting some other places, but I am not sure where those will be yet.
How did your Wisconsin teammates react to the news?
Uthoff: They were supportive. They reached out to me and were supportive.
This is obviously a tough opportunity since you committed to Wisconsin and now you are going to have to sit out next year. Are you confident that wherever you go now will be the right decision?
Uthoff: Yes, I am confident in my decision making. You know, nothing against Wisconsin because I like the coaches, the players, the great fans and the campus. I just think it's in the best interest for my basketball career that I go to a different program. I think I'll benefit from that. I don't regret my decision. I think it's the right decision.
Do you regret your decision to come to Wisconsin in the first place?
Uthoff: This year was beneficial in the aspect that I learned a lot. I learned quite a bit. I learned a lot about Wisconsin's system and quite a bit about every team we played. I learned a lot about basketball.
Are you concerned that by the time you are eligible for the 2013-14 season, you will have gone two full seasons without having played a basketball game, or are you pretty confident that you'll be ready to go?
Uthoff: I am little worried about sitting another year because it's going to be hard not playing. It's just hard for basketball players to not be able to play for a year, especially two years. I do think it will be beneficial to me in the long run.