When Jarrod Uthoff went unselected in last June's NBA Draft, he had a choice: take a more lucrative option in Europe or try to crack the NBA as an undrafted free agent. He chose the second path and while that route has been rocky so far -- he signed a training camp deal with the Toronto Raptors but didn't make their final roster and he's been playing in the NBA D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (alongside fellow Iowa alum Adam Woodbury!) -- it might be paying off now. Uthoff is getting his chance in the NBA:
The Dallas Mavericks plan to sign forward Jarrod Uthoff of Fort Wayne to a 10-day contract, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 8, 2017
Charania's tweet was confirmed by Hawk Central's Chad Leistikow:
Can confirm what was first reported by @ShamsCharania. Ex-Hawkeye Jarrod Uthoff will sign 10-day NBA deal w/ Dallas Mavericks tomorrow.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) March 8, 2017
That second tweet from Leistikow explains why Uthoff is getting a chance in the NBA: because he's been straight balling out in the D-League. Dallas seems like it could be a great fit for him as well. One, they have experience finding diamonds in the D-League rough -- they took a flier on another former Big Ten star in Yogi Ferrell earlier this year and he went and played so well (17.8 ppg, 5.8 apg, 44% FG) that they signed him to a two-year contract. Two, they have a stellar coach in Rick Carlisle who's very adept at tactics and getting the most out of players. Three, they know a thing or two about unconventional bigs like Uthoff and stretch fours. Perhaps you've heard of this guy?
I can think of far worse mentors for Uthoff than a future Hall of Famer like Nowitski. Obviously, this is only a 10-day contract and it guarantees nothing -- but it's an opportunity in the NBA. That's what Uthoff has been trying to get ever since last summer -- now let's see what he can do with it. Best of luck in Dallas, Jarrod.