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NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 Jarrod Uthoff

Raptors 905 Jarrod Uthoff Showing His NBA Stretch-4 Potential

The Toronto Raptors brought Iowa senior Jarrod Uthoff to training camp because the 23-year-old might just be more NBA ready than a younger prospect and the confidence in his abilities was based on three rapidly improving seasons with Iowa where the 6’9 stretch-four forward was firing up over five threes a game and averaging 18.9 points last year.

Uthoff didn’t make the Raptors, but he has found a home with the NBA D-League Mississauga Raptors 905 where he tied his season high in points at 16 in the team’s first game back after Christmas.

“Uthoff’s been really good man,” 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse responded to Pro Bball Report. “He’s open to knowing the things he has to do to get better. I took him to lunch one day and he’s ready to take over this thing and I love that attitude.

“He’s getting better. I am watching him get better right in front of our eyes. He’s a guy we can go to. He’s a guy we can drop it to and say go to work.”

Uthoff has already improved since college. A 38.2 percent college three-point shooter last year, he’s hitting over 54 percent of his NBA-range threes with the 905 and he’s bringing defense and rebounding to Mississauga as well.

“He’s a really good defensive rebounder, offensive rebounder too,” Stackhouse said.

Almost a steal and a block to go with 4.6 rebounds and 7.3 points in just 20.1 minutes over his first 16 games this season.

“It’s in my nature to do everything,” Uthoff told Pro Bball Report. “That’s just who I am. When I play, I try to play hard every possession and that includes playing defense, rebounding, offense, moving the ball and making the right plays. My game will never be one-dimensional.”

Stackhouse can’t always play him the minutes Uthoff deserves because of players being sent down from Toronto, but that’s something everyone in Mississauga knew they’d have to just accept and relationship between the coaching staff and the players has been strong.

“The biggest change for me has been just understanding the NBA system,” Uthoff said. “Every rookie has to go through it and that’s where coach Stackhouse and the coaching staff really comes in teaching us the game of basketball. I think they have done a wonderful job and we are taking steps forward.”

In the end, the skill that caught the Raptors attention and the skill that will get him a 10-day contract in the NBA later this season will be his three-point shooting. The stretch-four that can play a bit of defense and grab a few boards is the hot commodity in the NBA these days and Uthoff knows it.

“If I can improve on one aspect of my game, than maybe I should focus on being a stretch-four,” Uthoff concluded. “That will improve my game overall.

“It (the three-ball) feels pretty good right now. It fells pretty comfortable.

“Throughout the year, you are definitely going to see me shoot more and more (threes).”

This is a young man who believed he was ready for the NBA during training camp and has wanted to be the go-to-guy in Mississauga. He doesn’t lack for confidence and that could go a long ways when he finally gets his chance – and he will get a chance – to show off what he can do in an NBA game.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Jarrod Uthoff

Can Combo Forward Jarrod Uthoff Make The Raptors?

One of several interesting prospects vying for the 15th roster spot on the Toronto Raptors is the 6’10 23-year-old forward from Iowa Jarrod Uthoff. The redshirt senior became the Hawkeyes go-to-guy in a strong start last season averaging 18.9 points per game and shooting over 38 percent from three.

Where some of the Raptors other three-point shooting prospects may struggle getting their game off against NBA competition, Uthoff believes he’ll be able to adapt quickly because of his height.

“I’ve been blessed with height,” Uthoff told Pro Bball Report. “That’s going to help me. I have height and my release is a pretty decent height release, so those two things will allow me to get off NBA threes as opposed to most players.”

Uthoff was equally important defensively in Iowa as a rim protector, swatting away 2.5 shot attempts per game and he knows his prospects of landing a job with the Raptors hinge just as much on his defense as his shooting.

“It starts at the defensive end,” Uthoff said. “I think that’s where you separate yourself.”

Uthoff has got the right idea. The player head coach Dwane Casey will be looking for will be able to give the Raptors something at the defensive end first and foremost.

Matt Kamalsky of Draft Express described Uthoff prior to the draft as:

Iowa frequently looked to him to shoot them out of trouble.

An exceptionally smooth, prolific jump shooter who can score in a variety of ways, Uthoff did a little bit of everything for the Hawkeye’s this season as the team’s clear first option.

Defensively, Uthoff is a fairly unique player on paper. He was one of just eight NCAA players to play over 25 minutes per game and average over 1 steal and 3 blocks per-40 minutes pace adjusted. Uthoff may not be the quickest, longest, or most physically imposing defender, but he is a bit of a savant when it comes to contesting shots.

If Uthoff can showoff some shot blocking promise in training camp and preseason that might just be enough to give him the edge in a fairly strong group of prospects.

“At the end of the day, you have to look at (training camp) as an opportunity to get better and improve,” Uthoff said. “You are going against other great players vying for the same job. You look around and this is a great opportunity for all of us to get better.

“I am absolutely enjoying myself. The amenities are top-notch. Everything you could ask for is here.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s why I play the game of basketball because I have fun and at the same time you have to treat it as a business. It’s your career, your serious about it. When you go to work, you go to work and you do your best. It’s fun to come to work though.”

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 


 

 

Jarrod Uthoff

Raptors Sign Undrafted Iowa Forward Jarrod Uthoff

The Toronto Raptors have signed undrafted Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff to a partially guaranteed two-year deal or more accurately, they have invited him to training camp and are making sure he earns enough to live on if he ends up on the Raptors 905.

The 6’10 214 lb 23-year-old was a prolific three-point shooter with the Hawkeye’s over three seasons and averaged 38.2 percent from three-point range on 5.2 attempts as a senior. Uthoff put up 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1 steal and 2.5 blocks per game last season.

Mark Emmert of Hawk Central writes,

The former Iowa Hawkeye star went undrafted Thursday, a mild surprise after many projections had him as a mid-second round pick.

“Jarrod Uthoff has a bizarre game that almost seems hard to place in the NBA,” explained Adi Joseph, a deputy editor for the Sporting News. “Will he be able to block shots at the NBA level? And if he can’t, will he be able to defend well enough in other ways? That was the worry with him. He has the size and skills, but they don’t fit a traditional or even a modern NBA role.”

“He can knock down shots, space the floor and I think he can hang on the defensive end,” ESPN draft expert Jay Bilas had said of Uthoff earlier in the week, predicting he would be a second-round choice. “As long as he gets with the right team, I think he can be a help to somebody.”

The Draft Express scouting report illustrates why the Raptors are showing interest in him.

Uthoff has tremendous size for a small forward, and despite lacking prototypical length, could conceivably play power forward in small lineups depending on the situation.

He is a solid, but not spectacular athlete on the whole, though he makes good use of the tools he does have on the defensive end, mitigating some concerns about how his physical tools might translate.

An exceptionally smooth, prolific jump shooter who can score in a variety of ways, Uthoff did a little bit of everything for the Hawkeye’s this season as the team’s clear first option

His ability to make shots from beyond the arc and from the midrange should help him provide value as a floor spacer at the next level. His 80% career shooting from the free throw line won’t hurt either.

Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri had indicated he was looking for more shooting this summer and if Uthoff’s game can translate to the NBA, he certainly can bring that aspect to the court.

However, Uthoff didn’t earn his deal with Toronto based on his NBA Summer League production. He averaged just 17.2 minutes, 4.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block in 4 games with the Kings in Las Vegas. He scored 2 points against the Raptors Summer League team in a 88-47 blowout loss.

Once again this season Ujiri is bringing guys that might take the final spot on the roster if the team doesn’t pick up someone more interesting or a little further along in their career. Uthoff, however, does fill a need and just maybe he can prove himself before someone else locks up the last spot.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.