CEDAR RAPIDS — Now that basketball season is over, Jarrod Uthoff has become a full-fledged laborer. For instance, he worked a lengthy 8-to-3 shift Saturday.
You might ask where.
“Um, that’s a secret,” he said.
A secret, Jarrod?
“No, no, no. Just kidding,” he said. “I work at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Only for the top spots.”
At a still-growing 6-foot-8, Uthoff can reach any top spot in the store. Kind of fitting since he has reached it in hoops.
The University of Wisconsin signee is honored today as the 2011 Iowa Mr. Basketball, the sixth Metro prep to be named the top senior player in the state, the first since Linn-Mar’s Jason Bohannon in 2006. He also played college ball at Wisconsin.
The Iowa Newspaper Association has sponsored the award since 1981, which is voted on by the state’s sports writers.
“It really means a lot,” Uthoff said. “I’m very honored to be given this prestigious award.”
It was an honor to watch Uthoff play. Despite being the focus of every opponent’s defense, he led the state with a 26.2 scoring average (a high of 44 early in the season against Marion), hitting 55 percent of his shots from the floor and 84.6 from the free-throw line.
Obviously tough on the interior, he also has the versatility to make 3-pointers and the ability to put the ball on the floor. His rebounding average of 11.2 ranked third in Class 4A.
Jefferson qualified for the state tournament the past two seasons.
“Jarrod faced double and triple teams all year long,” said Jefferson Coach Stu Ordman. “He worked really hard at knowing when to shoot it and when to pass it, as well as to keep moving and working. He’s unselfish, his teammates are unselfish, which I think is why we were able to win 17 games and go to state this year.”
Uthoff lives in Marengo but transferred from Iowa Valley to Jefferson as a sophomore because it gave him more opportunities academically and athletically. Hard to believe, but he averaged two points a game as a freshman at Iowa Valley.
“I didn’t really play very much,” he said.
“Every year he has improved dramatically,” Ordman said. “He has worked very hard in the off-season, and that’s another thing I think I see in him. He’s continuing to grow and will be 6-10, so there’s potential. But it’s also his character off the court that makes him very special to us. He’s considerate, an excellent student, has chosen a substance-free lifestyle. And he wants to be of service to someone all the time, always wants to help people.”
Further proof this was perhaps the best season ever for talent in the Metro comes from looking at the all-state teams, which include six first-teamers from Cedar Rapids and Marion. There are five in 4A: Uthoff, guards Marcus Paige and Matt Bohannon from Linn-Mar and guards Josh Oglesby and Wes Washpun of Cedar Rapids Washington. Marion’s Kasey Semler is a first-teamer in Class 3A.
Oglesby and Washpun averaged nearly 40 points combined, leading Washington to its second consecutive state tournament. The 6-foot-5 Oglesby is headed to Iowa after a four-year varsity career that included a 21.4 scoring average this season. He led the state with 87 made 3-pointers.
“Iowa is going to send me an (off-season) program, especially a weightlifting program, so I can start lifting and get stronger,” Oglesby said. “I’m just going to be getting ready for next year. I know I’m going to take a couple of weeks off here just to kind of relax. But then it’s back to work.”
Washpun turned himself into a Division I college player as well, averaging 17.8 points and showing off incredible athleticism. He took an official visit last weekend to Missouri State and has offers from North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
Bohannon and Paige were terrific in Linn-Mar’s run to the 4A state title, scoring 24 points each in the championship game against Des Moines Hoover. Bohannon will play next year at Northern Iowa, Paige in two years at North Carolina.
Semler may not have gotten as much attention as his aforementioned Metro mates but had a terrific season as well. He scored 21.5 points per game, helping Marion make it to state for the second time in three years. He likely is headed to a junior college for two years in hopes of eventually landing a D-I offer.
Other first-team picks include North Cedar junior Jordan Hay and Cascade senior Regan Takes in Class 2A. They played each other in the first round of the state tournament.
Here are all the INA all-state teams in each class:
A list of the previous winners: