MADISON, Wis. — The pressure is on. Jarrod Uthoff knows that.
There are no second chances now. This decision is crucial.
“It’d better be a good one,” the former Cedar Rapids Jefferson all-stater acknowledged Saturday.
Uthoff said he has an official visit set up in a couple of weeks to Creighton, as he looks for a new school after deciding to transfer from Wisconsin. The Badgers and Coach Bo Ryan gave the 2011 Iowa Mr. Basketball a limited release, barring him from moving to any other Big Ten Conference school, in-state rival Marquette and Iowa State.
“I didn’t expect that,” Uthoff said. “I thought Coach (Bo) Ryan would grant me a full release.”
The 6-foot-8 Uthoff red-shirted this season as a freshman, a choice he made solely to get stronger and be able to cope with the physical rigors of big-time college basketball. He told The Gazette/Iowa Prep Sports in an interview late in the season that he didn’t regret going to Wisconsin, but the truth was there were doubts all along.
He said he’d “been thinking about transferring for several months,” before finally deciding to pull the trigger and ask for his scholarship release this week. The decision is strictly about Ryan’s swing offense.
“I just think after being in the system and getting a true understanding of it, it would most benefit me to play someplace else,” Uthoff said. “It’s a great campus, great coaching staff, great guys. But I need to go someplace where I feel like I fit in better as a player.”
Because he has burned his red-shirt, Uthoff will have only three seasons of playing eligibility left after having to sit out his transfer year. He said playing at a junior college for a year and then transferring to another Division I school is not an option.
He doesn’t have any other official visits set up at this point and doesn’t have a timetable for making a decision on a new school.
“I know it’ll be tough not being able to play for two straight years,” he said. “But this is the best thing for me overall.”