CEDAR RAPIDS — “Basket by Uthoff!”
How weird must it be for old-time Cedar Rapids Jefferson boys’ basketball fans to hear those words from public-address announcers around the Metro and Mississippi Valley Conference these days.
It was roughly 35 years ago when Dean Uthoff was terrorizing opponents for the J-Hawks. The all-state big man still holds Iowa State’s career rebounding record and had a successful pro career in Australia.
Now it’s his cousin, Jarrod, in a Jefferson uniform. The 6-foot-8 junior is averaging a Dean-like 22.7 points and 14.3 rebounds in his first three games this season.
“Jarrod is a very unselfish player,” said Jefferson Coach Stu Ordman. “He’s a good teammate, and he wants to make plays on offense and defense. Those things are hard to teach. Players either have them, or they don’t.”
Uthoff is from Marengo, open enrolling last year and playing on the sophomore team much of the season. He moved up to varsity after fulfilling the IHSAA’s 90 school-day sit-out policy for transfers and has made an immediate impact.
Unlike his cousin, who was a pounder, Jarrod’s got a diverse inside-outside game that also includes the ability to dribble-drive.
“I always played on an AAU team called the Tornadoes,” Uthoff said, explaining his departure from Iowa Valley High School. “A lot of these guys were on it, so I knew a lot of guys on this basketball team before coming here. That helped.”
Uthoff has one Division I offer, from Albany, right now. The school has a history with Iowa preps, considering former Cedar Rapids Prairie player Brent Wilson and West Des Moines Dowling guard Brian Lillis helped lead Albany to its first NCAA tournament appearance two years ago.
Former Waterloo West prep John Puk is a freshman this season.
“Strength is the number one thing I need to work on,” said Uthoff, who’s definitely a skinny 6-8.
“Jarrod’s just filling out into his body, and he’s going to grow a couple more inches,” Ordman said. “He’s got a tremendous upside.”