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Big Ten hoops media day should be interesting

[ 1 ] June 7, 2012 |
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan

The anticipation has already started. Anticipation for the annual Big Ten men’s basketball media day, which is traditionally held in late October in Chicago, Ill.

Wisconsin coach  Bo Ryan and Iowa coach Fran McCaffery will get peppered with questions about Jarrod Uthoff, the former Iowa Mr. Basketball  and first-team all-state forward from Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Uthoff announced Wednesday evening that he would transfer to Iowa. He spent last season as a redshirt freshman forward at Wisconsin.

Ryan was crucified in some media corners, accused of being heavy-handed because he initially put more than 20 schools on Uthoff’s restricted transfer list. Later, that list was narrowed to Big Ten schools only.

Uthoff will sit out the 2012-13 season, according to NCAA transfer rules. He’ll also be required to pay his own way through the 2012-13 school year because he went to a restricted institution.

What does Ryan think of Uthoff ending up at a Big Ten rival, a school that beat him twice last season? What does McCaffery think of taking a player who left a Big Ten rival? Those questions will be asked, and asked again, at that media day. How the two Philadelphia, Pa., area natives answer them remains to be seen.

The whole transfer issue was addressed when Big Ten bask

etball coaches held their annual spring meeting in April. Details are sketchy, because no one has talked about those meetings in public. But it’s fair to say it would have been an interesting discussion to listen to.

This fall’s hoops media day could be the most entertaining, and emotionally charged, since 1999. Steve Alford was ready to start his first season as Iowa coach. A former Indiana all-American, Alford was seated 10 feet from Indiana coach Bob Knight. The two never acknowledged each other. And Knight wanted nothing to do with Alford questions.

“There are so many guys who have played for us or coached for us that we eventually go against, that it’s just one more guy,” Knight said. “

Alford was asked if Knight had called him and congratulated him for getting a Big Ten job.

“No, he still hasn’t,” Knight said.

Later, asked about Alford again, Knight pointed to a sign at the middle of his table.

“This sign says Indiana,” Knight said.

Uthoff’s change of Big Ten addresses has precedent.

In December of 1999, former Indiana star Luke Recker decided to finish his career at Iowa, even though that meant he could not be put on scholarship. Recker actually decided to transfer to Arizona, but had a change of heart after he was involved in a horrific auto accident.

Big Ten rules at the time didn’t allow student-athletes to transfer from one Big Ten school to another and still receive a scholarship. Recker played his entire Iowa career as a walk-on. He was able to pay in-state tuition because his father, Clair, lived in Washington.

That rule has since been changed by the Big Ten, so Uthoff will only have to pay his own way for one season before going on scholarship.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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