Jarrod Uthoff’s G League journey halted by COVID-19

Jarrod Uthoff has faced many roadblocks during his career in professional basketball. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the latest challenge for him to hurdle.


The Daily Iowan

Iowa Hawkeyes forward Jarrod Uthoff (20) shoots a three point shot against Villanova Wildcats guard Josh Hart (3) in the Barclays Center on Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. Uthoff ended the game with 6 rebounds, 16 points, and 2 assists. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes, 87-68.

Austin Hanson, Assistant Sports Editor

Former Hawkeye men’s basketball player Jarrod Uthoff has traveled a unique road in professional basketball since departing from Iowa in 2016. Uthoff has played for seven professional basketball teams in four years.

At the conclusion of the 2016 NBA Draft, Uthoff had not been selected. The Toronto Raptors signed him as a free agent. After appearing in one preseason game, he was waived and signed by the Raptors’ 905 squad in Mississauga, Ontario. The 905 is a G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors.

After 24 games with the 905, Uthoff was traded to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in exchange for ex-Hoosier Christian Watford and a draft pick. With the Indiana Pacer-affiliated Mad Ants, Uthoff averaged 17.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game across 11 games of action.

From there, the Dallas Mavericks signed a 10-day contract with Uthoff on March 9, 2017. He then earned an additional 10-day contract on March 19. He even inked a multi-year deal with Mavericks on March 29.

Uthoff played in nine games with the Mavericks, making his NBA debut against the Brooklyn Nets on March 10, 2017.

“It was incredible,” Uthoff said. “It’s exciting; obviously, you have a lot of nerves. There’s so many emotions that you feel because you’ve wanted [to be in the NBA] your entire life. When you walk out on the court for the first time it’s incredible.”

Following that stint with the Mavericks, Uthoff was sent down to Dallas’ G League affiliate, the Texas Legends. After two games, he was recalled back to Dallas. After the 2017 NBA season concluded, the Mavericks traded Uthoff to the Houston Rockets on June 29. On July 30, the Rockets waived the former Hawkeye.

In the ensuing 2017-18 season, Uthoff played a full 50-game campaign with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 16.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

Uthoff then took his talents to Russia, playing in the Euroleague for Zenit St. Petersburg for all of 2018-19.

This season, Uthoff has returned to the United States, signing with the Memphis Grizzlies and their G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle. Uthoff has played 34 games for the Hustle this year, averaging 18.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

The 26-year old was named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference Team on Feb 10.

“[The Memphis Hustle] were doing really well,” Uthoff said. “We were one of the best teams in the G League. I was playing at a high level.”

Including Uthoff, four members of the Hustle were named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference Team. Memphis boasted a 26-15 record, good for second in the Western Conference.

Uthoff and the Hustle are currently waiting for the NBA and G League to resume play in 2020. When the NBA suspended play on March 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so too did the G League.

“I felt like I was on a good trajectory,” Uthoff said. “These things are out of your control. You can’t do anything about it. You just keep going. It’s frustrating. It’s hard to describe. I can’t even get to the gym right now. The last month I haven’t been able to shoot a basketball. It’s kind of sad. You do what you can [at home] to get better.”

While Uthoff’s G League journey is currently on hold, he’s had time to reflect on his career in professional basketball.

“I’ve had an interesting journey to this point,” Uthoff said. “I’ve been in a lot of different places. I’m fortunate enough to have been coached by a lot of great coaches. I’ve had a lot of great teammates along the way. I’ve been in the G League, NBA, overseas. I’ve kind of run the gauntlet in terms of professional basketball. It’s been a lot of fun. It obviously tests you in multiple ways. I have a wife who supports me and my family. I love basketball.”

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