Uthoff talks weight, shooting


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Jarrod Uthoff is a lanky guy. Iowa fans know it, he knows it, and head coach Fran McCaffery knows it. He’s listed as 6-9, 210 pounds, but after a summer of lifting and trying to gain weight, he said he currently weighs in at 207 — with shoes. Uthoff also noted he consistently wears shoes.

That weight isn’t quite where he wants it to be, but he’s glad he dropped a fraction of the little body fat he has.

“I was hoping to be about 212, but I didn’t get there … last year, I fluctuated a lot, I struggled to keep weight on, especially during the season,” Uthoff said.

His size wasn’t the only focus he had in the Hawkeyes’ off-season, however.

Uthoff spoke at length at Iowa men’s basketball media day Thursday about how he needs to be more aggressive this season. The Cedar Rapids native only attempted double-digit field goals in one game last year, the Hawkeyes’ 85-82 loss in Ames, when he went 5-of-10 from the floor for 12 points.

He only attempted an average of 5.1 field goals per game, shooting 50-percent on those attempts for an average of 7.6 points per contest.

“I want him to be aggressive offensively. That will be key for him and for us. When he was aggressive last year, we were a better team” McCaffery said. “… What you’ll see is a guy who is playing more [Uthoff averaged 18.2 minutes per game], is expected to do more and has an even greater expectation of himself.”

Perhaps it was the laid-back media day environment, but Uthoff, usually fairly soft-spoken, carried himself in a confident manner. It’s not that he wasn’t confident before, but his confidence seemed to go up a notch.

He’s hoping that will carry onto the court.

“I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been last year,” Uthoff said. “Part of it was because we had such a deep team, coming in-and-out."

Twitter school

After former Iowa forward Zach McCabe posted a vulgar Tweet directed toward Iowa fans following the Hawkeyes’ Feb. 22 loss to Wisconsin, McCaffery required his players to shut down their Twitter accounts for the remainder of the season.

Players are now allowed to use Twitter but as another measure to prevent further social-media distractions, McCaffery brought in a company to teach his team about the potential dangers of social media.

The presentation’s results were all across the board for some of the Hawkeyes.

Trey Dickerson, who has tweeted more than 52,500 times, said he never really put anything inappropriate online, but he has posted less since the seminar.

Forward Gabe Olaseni said the presentation used some of his 981 (as of this writing) tweets as examples for how to use the site.

Things weren’t so great for Okey Ukah, however. The forward has nearly 2,800 tweets on his page but did admit he has deleted some.

“OK, I’ve had Twitter since my sophomore year of high school, since like 2009. I was [pause] immature back then, I wasn’t exactly censored, and I had no idea I’d be playing college basketball,” Ukah said. “I had the oldest Twitter, the most inappropriate Twitter, and I basically needed an intervention.

“I got into some trouble, and that’s behind us, and now I only Tweet positive. They told me I’m not a comedian, and I don’t need to be telling jokes anymore.”

Nonconference schedule

Iowa’s nonconference schedule features some big-time games this season. In addition to playing Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye and Northern Iowa in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic, the Hawkeyes will travel to Madison Square Garden, where they will take on Texas and either Syracuse or Cal.

In perhaps the most highly anticipated nonconference matchup, the Hawkeyes will take on North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

McCaffery said this isn’t by accident, and he wants to get his program some national exposure, in addition to helping his team’s tournament résumé come Selection Sunday.

“Do you think that this team has the mental toughness that would enable them to handle that kind of schedule knowing what comes behind it, which is 18 monsters? OK,” McCaffery said. “We wanted our team on national TV; to go to Carolina and play is going to be a great opportunity for our program.”

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