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IOWA CITY -- Former Cedar Rapids Jefferson basketball standout Jarrod Uthoff has asked for his scholarship release from Wisconsin, Uthoff's AAU Coach Jamie Johnson said Thursday night.
But the school has placed heavy restrictions on Uthoff on where he can attend his next college, and the 6-foot-8 forward plans to appeal those restrictions. Johnson, the executive director for the Iowa Barnstormers, said Wisconsin wanted to restrict Uthoff from accepting a scholarship from multiple schools in several conferences.
Johnson said it was Uthoff's decision to ask for his scholarship release.
"He told me, 'I still like it here. It's a good program,'" Johnson said. "He said, 'As much as I still like it here, I want to go to a place that's a better fit for me.'"
Uthoff was named Iowa's Mr. Basketball and was The Gazette's boys' basketball player of the year following the 2011 season. He led the state in scoring at 26.2 points per game. He shot 55 percent from the floor and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 11.2 rebounds a game, third-most in Class 4A.
He had the option to play right away for Wisconsin but instead chose to red-shirt this season. Before the season Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan touted Uthoff as a fast learner.
"He's picked up things sort of the way Josh Gasser did last year (as a freshman)," Ryan said at Big Ten Media Day last fall. "Some guys it might be after a year; some guys after two years. But he's grasped our concepts as fast as anybody that we've had."
Wisconsin assistant Gary Close targeted Uthoff during the recruiting process. Johnson said he recently spoke with Close, who said the Wisconsin staff was pleased with Uthoff's progress. Close is a former Iowa assistant and Iowa City Regina head coach.
Uthoff picked Wisconsin over Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Butler. According to Big Ten rules, Uthoff cannot earn a scholarship from a league school and must sit out one year before playing for another Division I institution. Johnson said Uthoff would consider playing junior-college basketball for a season.