IOWA CITY — Jarrod Uthoff has waited a long time for this.
As Iowa's high school Mr. Basketball in 2011, Uthoff figured to be well into his college career by now. He encountered an unexpected detour that delayed his first college action by a couple of years, but his wait is nearly over.
When Iowa holds its Black and Gold Blowout event Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Uthoff will get to walk onto a basketball court wearing an Iowa uniform and his first chance to wear it in a real game won't be far behind.
The Hawkeyes host Augustana in an exhibition game Nov, 3 and the regular season opener is Nov. 8 against UNC-Wilmington.
“It’s going to be a very special moment for me when I can step out on the court with this Hawkeye uniform on,’’ Uthoff said.
“The last two years have been tough sitting and watching, not playing,'' he added. "It’s just been tough.’’
The 6-foot-8 forward signed with Wisconsin coming out of Cedar Rapids Jefferson, but the Badgers opted to redshirt him in his first year on campus. Uthoff grew disgruntled with head coach Bo Ryan and his role in the program and announced plans to transfer.
Although Ryan attempted to keep him from transferring to another Big Ten school, Uthoff landed at Iowa and had to sit out last season under transfer rules. He's determined not to second-guess his decision to go to Wisconsin.
“I try not to look back, just try to look forward, get that behind me as much as possible and look forward to playing here,’’ he said.
It remains to be seen how much action he sees for the Hawkeyes or what role he will fill, but head coach Fran McCaffery said Uthoff is among the most versatile players on the team.
"He's going to play a lot,'' McCaffery assured reporters at the Hawkeyes' preseason media day. "He's a really good player. He can score, he can rebound, he can block shots, he's tough, he's physical, he's a team player, he understands how to play, understands how to win. So those kind of guys have to be on the floor.''
McCaffery hasn't tipped his hand as to exactly how much Uthoff will play, though.
"That's going to differ game to game, but he's going to play,'' McCaffery said."He deserves to play.''
Uthoff said “I’ll play anything, wherever coach needs me.’’
He figures to play mostly at the small forward and power forward positions, but he wouldn't discount the possibility of being used at even center or shooting guard.
“I’ll just say this: I’m going to do whatever it takes to win,'' Uthoff said. "I’m going to do whatever coach needs of me, whatever is best for the team.’’