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.”