The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Declining the throne

Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff talks to reporters outside the locker room after the Iowa-Northwestern game in Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. The Hawkeyes lost in overtime to the Wildcats, 66-61. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

You can lead the cows out to pasture, but you can’t make them eat. You can put the dog out in the field, but you can’t make it hunt.
And you can ask Jarrod Uthoff if he’s the next leader of the Hawkeye men’s basketball team, but you can’t make him say yes.

“I get enough attention; I don’t need any more attention,” he said. “I’m the baby of a family of five. I get enough attention.”

The last two seasons of Hawkeye basketball have been defined by a senior leader rising to the occasion. Devyn Marble handed the torch to Aaron White, and Uthoff, now a senior, seemed poised to take the reins from White, especially after a breakout 2014-15 season.

During that season, Uthoff averaged around 30.3 minutes and 12.4 points per game, second on the team in both to White. White followed a similar script, in that he was second to Marble in both categories in 2013-14.

White embraced the leadership void Marble left, while Uthoff insists it isn’t his team. In fact, he doesn’t like the fanfare he’s drawn in the preseason.

The attention is fair, because Uthoff will be the Hawkeyes’ leading returning scorer and rebounder.

It’s also unfair, because there are three other seniors with significant experience on the Hawkeye roster, and all four of them will likely start.

Uthoff notes, too, that last season, White wasn’t the only one whose voice was heard.

“There’s no added pressure at all,” he said. “Last year, we were all leaders. It was leadership by committee last season.”

That could’ve been true, as the Hawkeyes scored a win in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in decades.
Head coach Fran McCaffery said the team belonged to White before last season, and it appeared it did on the court as well. This season, he said none of the four seniors have emerged to fill those Paul Bunyan shoes.

“I think when you have four seniors, all of whom have played as much as these four guys have, it’s kind of a collective effort,” McCaffery said.

The four seniors are Uthoff, center Adam Woodbury, and guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons.
All four will likely play a role in the leadership, although to what degree remains to be seen.

“This year, it’s a little bit different because Mike’s the point guard,”McCaffery said. “Woody’s a little more verbal. Jarrod has really, I think, taken his game to the next level. But he’s not a big verbal guy.

“Clemmons is, and he’s rock solid and has tremendous respect of everything in the locker room.”

Still, some signs point to Uthoff, who, as was White, will be both a consistent scoring threat and a key rebounder to lead the team, at least on the court.

Uthoff said he’ll give the interviews he needs to, but even teammates say he’d prefer to shy away from the spotlight.
“I don’t think he likes that,” Woodbury said. “He doesn’t like all the attention.”

The Hawkeyes believe they will be fine whether Uthoff becomes the face of the team or not.

“All of us are going to contribute what we contribute to the team,” Woodbury said. “We’re all about winning, and so is he.”

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