The Jarrod Uthoff saga finally has a happy ending...at least if you're a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The 6-foot-8 former Wisconsin forward confirmed Wednesday night that he would be transferring to Iowa for the 2012 season and beyond after narrowing his list of potential landing pads to Iowa and Iowa State.
Per NCAA rules, the Cedar Rapids native must sit out the 2012-13 season. He also must pay for his own schooling for one year before Fran McCaffery can put him on scholarship. Uthoff redshirted last season after joining the Badgers on the heels of a stellar high school career.
As far as walk-ons go - even ones that can't contribute immediately - it's hard to top Uthoff. The former Cedar Rapids Jefferson star was the state's Mr. Basketball in 2011, beating out future teammate Josh Oglesby among others for the title after leading the state with a 26.1 points per game average his senior season. He chose to play college ball in Madison but after a year at Wisconsin opted to look elsewhere to continue his career.
Uthoff cited Iowa's up-tempo style of play under McCaffery as the school's main lure. Wisconsin, while highly successful under head coach Bo Ryan, employs a much less frenetic pace of play. Iowa, Uthoff said, will allow him the freedom to play and utilize (his) versatility.
Ryan initially restricted Uthoff from contacting as many as 26 schools, a move that drew national criticism. The list of schools forbidden from contacting Uthoff was ultimately trimmed to just the 11 other members of the Big Ten. Because Uthoff is prohibited from talking to conference schools he can't officially have any contact with McCaffery or his staff until he enrolls in classes this fall.
“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 told the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Uthoff told the Gazette's Scott Dochterman that he will participate in the upcoming Prime Time League in North Liberty this year.
Iowa will likely put Uthoff on scholarship following the 2012-13 season and he'll have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the year. Uthoff will be allowed to participate in practices and is expected to serve as a member of the scout team while biding his time in exile.
Obviously the news Uthoff is transferring closer to home will pay no immediate dividends but his addition, coupled with an incoming recruiting class that features Adam Woodbury and Mike Gesell among others, lays the groundwork for future success on the hardwood for the Hawkeyes for years to come. It will also add more fuel to a growing hoops rivalry between the Badgers and the Hawkeyes which was stoked initially by former Iowa commit Ben Brust choosing to play for Ryan in Madison following his Letter of Intent release in the wake of Todd Lickliter's firing by Iowa in 2009. Iowa swept the season series from the Badgers last year and it's safe to say there is no love lost between the two programs.