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IOWA CITY — Jarrod Uthoff’s NBA ambitions were detoured late Thursday night when he wasn’t selected by a team in the 60-player draft.
Uthoff, a consensus All-American with Iowa this year, was expected to go anywhere starting with the late first round. When he went undrafted, it was a surprise to many observers.
The 2011 Cedar Rapids Jefferson graduate had opportunities to land with an NBA club, but he and his agent, Adam Pensack, opted not to pursue them. Many second-round selections are sent to the NBA D-League or moved over to Europe for salary considerations and skill refinement. Often those agreements often are discussed or even finalized before the pick is announced. Within minutes of Iowa forward Aaron White’s selection last June, Washington Wizards management told reporters White was likely headed to Europe. White played this year in Bonn, Germany.
In an email to The Gazette on Friday, Pensack said he and Uthoff “turned down several draft and stash picks” and the “NBA remains the primary focus.” Uthoff told The Gazette in a text Friday that he’s “still trying to make a decision” on which NBA team to choose.
By the end of Thursday’s draft, Uthoff was listed by ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas as the 10th-best player not selected. In a pre-draft teleconference this week, Bilas said he considered Uthoff a second-round selection.
“As long as he gets with the right team, I think he can be a help to somebody,” Bilas said.
Uthoff, who trained at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, was among the most active players since the NBA Scouting Combine in mid-May. He visited 17 different NBA teams and received a variety of feedback after his workouts.
“It’s been great getting to know all these people, all the NBA people and going around to different teams and really understanding the differences between them,” Uthoff said earlier this week. “It’s the little minor details about how each team is run differently, and it’s very neat.”
At the NBA Scouting Combine last month in Chicago, Uthoff measured at 6 feet, 9 3/4 inches with a 6-11 1/2 wingspan and weighed 214.2 pounds with 6 percent body fat.
Uthoff, a 2011 Cedar Rapids Jefferson graduate, was a consensus All-American this year with second- and third-team honors. He was the Hawkeyes’ first consensus selection since guard Andre Woolridge in 1997. Among Big Ten players, Uthoff ranked second in scoring (18.9), first in blocked shots (2.7), and tied for 11th in rebounding (6.4).
In his three years at Iowa, Uthoff scored 1,259 points (19th in school history) and blocked 174 shots (fourth). After his senior season at Jefferson, where he averaged 26.2 points a game, Uthoff was the state’s Mr. Basketball in 2011.
With Uthoff, Iowa expected to have a player drafted for the third straight season. In 2014, guard Devyn Marble was picked in the second round by Denver — and immediately traded to Orlando. Last year, Washington drafted forward White. Iowa hadn’t produced selections in three straight drafts since doing so every year from 1980 through 1990.
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