This has been the offseason of the transfer, as discussion of the rules surrounding a player’s ability to change schools has dominated the college hoops blogosphere the same way that talk of a playoff has their gridiron counterparts.
The conversation has involved a number of topics — ranging from the legitimacy of the graduate transfer waiver to the overwhelming number of players changing schools to the fairness of a coach’s ability to block transfers — but it all started with Jarrod Uthoff and Bo Ryan.
Uthoff was a highly-regarded recruit in the Class of 2011, opting to redshirt his first season in Madison. But after spending a year practicing with the team, the 6-foot-8 forward realized that he didn’t fit in with Wisconsin’s offensive system. So he decided to leave, a decision that Ryan did not handle well. He not only blocked Uthoff from transferring to another Big Ten school, he blocked him from going to every ACC school, Marquette, Florida and Iowa State.
Ryan eventually relented as the wrath of the internet wore on him, removing any and all restrictions on Uthoff.
The decision was significant, as Uthoff — an Iowa native — ultimately decided on Wednesday night that he will be taking his talents to Iowa.
“It’s official: I’m going to be a Hawkeye,” Uthoff said. “I just think it would be the best fit for me. It’s something I thought about the whole time. I just wanted to make sure this is the right fit for me.”
Uthoff will have to pay his own way as a walk-on at Iowa next season per Big Ten rules. He also will have to sit out a year per NCAA transfer rules, but given the fact the NCAA has been handing out waivers like bathroom attendants hand out paper towels, Uthoff would be smart to apply for immediate eligibility.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Uthoff was willing to give up the right to play next season to pay for a year’s worth of education while once again sitting on the bench. And if the other coaches that were trying to recruit Uthoff after he transferred never thought they had a chance — like Gary Parrish insinuated — than maybe we are getting a glimpse into the reason Ryan was so upset about Uthoff’s decision to leave. As Uthoff said, “It’s something I thought about the whole time.”
It is worth noting that Fran McCaffery is starting to collect some talent in Iowa City. Melsahn Besabe, Aaron White and Roy Devyn Marble all have at least two years of eligibility left. The Hawkeyes have a long way to go before they’ll be close to being thought of as a Big Ten contender, but they are heading in the right direction.