Uthoff’s pro future still in air
Jarrod Uthoff’s pro basketball future remained up in the air Friday, a day after the NBA draft.
And there were indications that perhaps the Iowa star planned for it to be this way.
The Des Moines Register quoted Uthoff’s agent, Adam Pensack, as saying Uthoff asked NBA teams not to pick him in the second round of the draft Thursday night, feeling he had a better chance of making it in the league next season as a free agent.
As other NBA hopefuls such as Northern Iowa’s Wes Washpun began signing free agent contracts or agreements to play for NBA summer league teams Friday, Uthoff stood pat. Pensack told the Register that no announcement would be made “for a while for strategic purposes.”
Uthoff, who was the Big Ten’s second leading scorer and defensive player of the year last season, had been projected to be a second-round pick but as the draft unfolded Thursday night, several players listed much lower in draft projections were selected while he was not.
Iowa State’s Georges Niang and Abdel Nader, both rated lower than Uthoff on most draft boards, were among the last 11 players chosen.
However, many of those players taken in the second round already have been told they will be “stashed’’ in the NBA’s developmental league or in an overseas league. Nader already has been designated by the Boston Celtics to play for the Maine Red Claws of the D League.
“It’s often better to not be tied to one team and then be able to potentially pursue opportunities with any of the 30 teams,” Pensack told the Register. “If a player’s goal is to play in the NBA, especially in year one, draft and stash is not the best route to do so since it yields zero chance in year one and only a very small chance in subsequent years.”
Meanwhile, Washpun agreed Friday to play for the Los Angeles Clippers’ team in the NBA’s Orlando summer league.
Other undrafted players who signed similar agreements included Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell (Brooklyn Nets) and Troy Williams (Phoenix Suns), Michigan State’s Matt Costello (Atlanta Hawks) and Bryn Forbes (San Antonio Spurs), and Northwestern’s Alex Olah (New Orleans Pelicans).