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Uthoff makes post matchups a nightmare

BY MATT CABEL | JULY 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Mike Gesell wasn’t kidding. 

“Jarrod Uthoff is a matchup nightmare,” he said on June 23 after his team lost to Uthoff’s and Anthony Clemmons’ team. 

And on Thursday night, Clemmons agreed. 

“That’s the way to explain it,” Clemmons said. “He can do a lot of things: He can shoot, he can drive, he can take you off the dribble. Like [Mike] said, he’s a nightmare.” 

The nightmare struck again Thursday night, as Uthoff’s and Clemmons’ team faced off against center Adam Woodbury’s and Kyle Meyer’s team, one of the strongest post teams in the Prime Time League. Uthoff rang up 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists in his team’s 95-92 win.

“He’s different,” Woodbury said. “He’s long and athletic, he plays the post differently than any other big man.” 

Initially, Uthoff was guarded by Meyer, and defended Woodbury on the other end of the floor. But Uthoff proved too much for Meyer, sinking step-back jumpers, finishing above him with floaters, and even sinking a 3-point basket. 

But when Meyer sat on the bench, Uthoff became a target for the even smaller defenders from the opposition, earning fouls on two-straight possessions at one point, which contributed to his 10-of-10 showing from the charity stripe. 

Uthoff scored with ease over his smaller defenders, both on catch-and-shoot plays and open looks he created on his own. His ability to shoot from the perimeter and in the post is a skill he believes gave him an advantage over his larger defenders. 

“You have to use your length and quickness; those are the two biggest things,” he said. 

Even on the defensive end of the floor, where Uthoff was guarding the taller Woodbury, he was a nightmare. He blocked numerous shots from behind and even finished over Woodbury with a left hand lay-up on a fast break. 

“It’s hard to stop a guy like that,” Woodbury said. “He gets shots on a lot of different angles, and he got the best of us tonight.”

Eventually, Woodbury became Uthoff’s matchup on both ends of the floor. It was a heated battle, one that Uthoff managed to get the best of.

“It’s tough,” Uthoff said about guarding centers. “They’re quite a bit heavier and bigger than me.”

Woodbury’s height did prevail in some situations. He was able to post up the smaller Uthoff with ease and finish underneath the basket, earning most of his 18 points with lay-ups. Woodbury also got the best of the rebounding battle, grabbing 18 boards. 

Uthoff welcomes the challenge of guarding Iowa’s big men. It allows him to think more strategically, both with and without the ball. He’s learned to toughen up when defending in the paint, and since he can’t drive right through a center like Woodbury, he’s used his athleticism to get the ball through the net.

“When it comes to the post, I have to find ways to move around them,” Uthoff said. “They can just bulldoze into me. I can’t really do that to them.”


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