New, improved Jarrod Uthoff shows 'supreme confidence'
IOWA CITY, Ia. – When you use a nine- or 10-man rotation as Fran McCaffery does, certain guys are bound to shine on any given night.
But one guy that the Iowa basketball team is banking on to come through on a regular basis was nearly flawless in Friday's 90-56 rout of Hampton.
"I have supreme confidence in him. He's got confidence in himself," McCaffery said. "I thought he played sort of a mistake-free game; shot it when he was open, moved it on when he was covered."
Uthoff was hot and cold a year ago, his first full college season after red-shirting at Wisconsin then sitting out a year after transferring to Iowa.
A few days ago, he told media members that a season ago he was, at times, worried about making a mistake and getting pulled.
He rang up 13 points Friday and knocked down four 3-pointers on five attempts.
Most impressively, he looked confident. Afterward, he spoke with confidence.
"I can be a scorer and impact the game any way I can," he said. "I do multiple things. First and foremost, being aggressive offensively."
Aaron White was the buzz of Friday's season opener for Iowa (1-0), which hosts North Dakota State at 7 p.m. Monday. He registered 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists despite barely playing in the second half.
But even White deferred to Uthoff. He said the junior lights it up in practice from 3-point range to the tune of 50 percent.
"If I was a 50 percent three-point shooter, I would shoot the ball every time I was open," White said. "What he needs to do is make the simple play, and that's what he did tonight."
And what about the guys backing up Uthoff?
Sophomore Peter Jok and freshman Dom Uhl each impressed McCaffery at small forward.
Jok quietly assembled a steady line — 11 points, eight rebounds — in the first game of what many hope will be a breakout season for the West Des Moines Valley sharpshooter.
"And he's not happy with himself right now, which is a good sign," McCaffery said. "You get 11 and 8, and you feel like you should play better. That's a good thing. And that's why he's going to be terrific for us this year."
Uhl, meanwhile, got his first three points as a Hawkeye on a banked 3-pointer from the top of the key. He scored eight points in 18 minutes.
"I thought Dom was great," McCaffery said. "I was really happy for him."