CEDAR RAPIDS — Jarrod Uthoff plans to visit two more colleges in the coming weeks, but the Cedar Rapids Jefferson graduate said Wednesday he hopes to make a decision fairly soon.
Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 forward who red-shirted last season, left the Wisconsin basketball program in April and has made visits to Creighton and Iowa State. He wants to visit Marquette next week and Florida afterward. He also is considering Iowa but would have to pay his own way for one year. He is not interested in attending junior college.
Uthoff initially said he wanted to decide on a college before summer courses begin at those schools.
"The right decision is more important," Uthoff said. "It would be nice to get a decision in before that, but I'm going to take those two more visits and then make a decision.
"I like all of my options right now. It's going to be a tough decision."
Uthoff's departure sparked a national debate about transfers and university-imposed restrictions. After Uthoff asked for his scholarship release, Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan restricted Uthoff from contacting or receiving any contact from any Big Ten school, Iowa State and Marquette. Within days, all ACC schools and Florida also were restricted from contacting Uthoff.
Most of the restrictions were lifted after Uthoff met with Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez. Wisconsin will not issue a scholarship release for any Big Ten program, meaning Uthoff will have to pay his own way for one year and sit out next season if he picks Iowa.
An up-tempo offense is what Uthoff prefers from his next school. Wisconsin plays a methodical and successful system that relies on high-percentage shots and dogged defense.
"For me it's the system," he said. "The style of play."
Iowa's offense fits Uthoff's preference. The Hawkeyes finished third among Big Ten teams in points per game at 73 and swept Wisconsin in their season series. The Badgers, which advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in March, finished 10th in scoring at 64 points a game.
But gaining information from Iowa or another Big Ten school is tricky for Uthoff. He's not allowed to speak with any athletics official until he attends classes. Although Iowa recruited Uthoff and offered him a scholarship, the Hawkeyes since picked up Aaron White, who has a similar frame and was a member of the Big Ten's all-freshman team.
If Uthoff selected Iowa, it's possible the school wouldn't place him on scholarship even if he's eligible to receive one in fall 2013.
"I guess that's kind of a chance I'm willing to take if I decided to go to that school," Uthoff said. "I mainly just go off my prior knowledge of when they recruited me in the first place."
Uthoff was named Iowa's Mr. Basketball in 2011 after averaging a state-high 26.2 points a game. After his junior year he chose Wisconsin over Iowa, Iowa State, Indiana, Illinois, Northern Iowa and many others. Despite the ordeal, Uthoff said he has no regrets."I learned a lot from going to Wisconsin," Uthoff said. "I can't say that I regret it. I have a much better understanding of what their system is like and the system I'd be more benefited by. I guess you can take the year I spent at Wisconsin as a learning experience. I can't play next year because of that, but I still learned a lot."