By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
All signs point to Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Jarrod Uthoff being a top recruiting priority for Fred Hoiberg and his staff as the summer months approach.
Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 forward in the class of 2011, currently claims 10 offers. Iowa State offered Uthoff back when Greg McDermott was still at the helm. With Fred Hoiberg now in the captain’s seat, there is no doubt that the Cyclones will be in it to the end when it comes to Uthoff’s decision making process.
The recent rumor mill has speculated that Uthoff could be making a decision here over the next couple of weeks. As Uthoff told CycloneFanatic.com on Monday night, that probably isn’t the case.
“I plan on narrowing it down by the end of June,” Uthoff said, referring to three to five schools.
“I’m not sure when I’ll make a decision,” Uthoff said.
According AAU coach Jamie Johnson of the Iowa Barnstormers, Hoiberg and his staff have been very aggressive in recruiting Uthoff as of late.
“They are very interested in Jarrod. He has obviously been over there a number of times and most recently, about 10 days ago,” Johnson said. “There is mutual interest on both sides. Fred did call me to introduce himself. We spent about 30 minutes on the phone getting to know each other a little bit. He personally expressed his interest in recruiting Jarrod. He has met with Coach Hoiberg.”
“The connection with Iowa State, with Dean (former Cyclone Dean Uthoff, Jarrod’s uncle) and the fact that Jarrod has been there numerous times, I think they are in a good position at this point.”
What Uthoff wants?
Uthoff has plenty of options. But what is it that he is looking for exactly from a school?
Will staying close to home be a factor?
“I don’t remember how he said it but it was more along the lines of if the right school is far away, then distance won’t matter. But at the same time, if the right school is close to home, that is where I’ll be,” Johnson said. “I don’t know that he is afraid to go far away, but like he said, it has to be the right school. I know that his family would like him to stay closer to home. I don’t know how much that will impact what he decides in the end. It sounds like if he decides to play a little further away, he won’t be afraid to make that decision.”
According to his Rivals.com profile, Uthoff has offers from: Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Creighton, Arizona State, Butler, Illinois, Indiana, Indiana State and Albany.
However, numerous Big Ten programs and Notre Dame have been sniffing around as well.
“Schools like Notre Dame, Purdue, Wisconsin and there might be a few others who are expressing interest. Of those schools, obviously he made a stop at Notre Dame,” Johnson said. “He thought that was a neat place. I don’t know if anything will materialize with those other schools or if he’ll get a shot to go out and see them or if they’ll like him enough to offer him a scholarship.”
Johnson reiterated what Uthoff said about his plans to narrow his list in the near future.
“At this point, I think that pretty soon he is going to eliminate some schools, kind of the mid to low type schools,” Johnson said. “He is going to say ‘thank you for your interest but at this point, I am going to be looking at a different level of school.’ I think that is what he is planning to do.”
“I think that he wants to be comfortable where he goes, not just with the basketball program and the coaching staff but in the academic environment and in that community,” Johnson said. “He knows that he has to strap on his backpack and go to class wherever it is he is going. He wants to feel comfortable off the court.”
As far as Iowa State’s chances go, Hoiberg and Co. need to try to wrap this one up as soon as possible. Here’s a kid who is blowing up on the Midwest recruiting scene, who is also a phenomenal student. He comes from a Cyclone family and is an Iowan. This is the type of prospect that Iowa State needs to own in the future.
The longer this thing lasts, the less I like Iowa State’s chances.
Johnson more a less agrees with me.
“I’m just not sure how far he’ll drag this out,” Johnson said. “I think that if he does do it sometime soon, it will probably be with a school that has already offered him and somewhere where he has been to campus and gotten to know the guys a little bit.”