By Brendan Stiles
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Seven days after announcing he would transfer to Iowa as a walk-on, forward Jarrod Uthoff was selected first overall in Wednesday’s Prime Time League draft.
PTL director Randy Larson, who coaches the Vinton Merchants/Mike Gatens Real Estate squad, had the draft’s first selection and opted to take the the Cedar Rapids native after having had the chance to coach Uthoff in the league back in 2010 when Uthoff first committed to Wisconsin.
“I just loved him,” Larson said reflecting back on coaching Uthoff two summers ago. “I thought he had a great feel for the game, was very unselfish and can score not only with the 3-point shooting, which he’s wonderful, but he has good post moves.
“I thought he was a Gordon Hayward-type player where he can put it down, he makes the right decision. He’s one of those guys that I think will set the tone for playing the right way.”
As a member of the Badgers last season, Uthoff redshirted and made the decision to transfer last April. He will have to redshirt again in 2012-13 and will then have three years of eligibility remaining as a Hawkeye.
The first scholarship player taken was incoming freshman guard Mike Gesell, who went second overall to Jill Armstrong/Skogman Realtors. Gesell, who hails from South Sioux City, Neb., comes in as the likely replacement to Bryce Cartwright at the point for the Hawkeyes next season. As a senior in high school, Gesell averaged 24.8 points and 7.4 assists per game and was named the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in the state of Nebraska.
“A guy that plays both ends, very unselfish, but is still a great scorer,” Larson said. “I think there’s a reason people think he’s going to get handed the keys to this Iowa team next fall. He’s just that talented.”
Rounding out the first round were sophomore forward Aaron White with the third overall pick to Culver’s/Iowa City Ready Mix and junior guard Devyn Marble, who was taken with the fourth selection by L.L. Pelling/McCurry’s. White comes off a campaign where he was named a freshman all-American, and before that, he hit the game-winning shot in last summer’s PTL championship game. As for Marble, he made enormous strides as a sophomore, starting the majority of last season at the point.
Uthoff’s team features three other Hawkeye players — junior forward Zach McCabe, incoming freshman center Adam Woodbury and sophomore guard Josh Oglesby. Woodbury is the most highly-touted recruit in Iowa’s 2012 class and the 7-1 center from Sioux City signed with the Hawkeyes last fall after committing to Iowa over North Carolina.
Woodbury recently had a tryout with the USA U18 national team earlier this month in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“He’s arguably the kid that has the highest upside,” Larson said. “I think he’s an NBA prospect and when you’re 7-1, can shoot and run the floor, love to play defense, love to play the right way, that’s a great prospect.”
Meanwhile, Gesell’s team also features three current Hawkeyes — junior forward Melsahn Basabe, incoming freshman forward Kyle Meyer and sophomore forward Darius Stokes — as well as former Iowa forward Jarryd Cole, who will participate in the PTL this summer after playing professionally in Iceland last year.
Rounding out the Hawkeye players in this summer’s league are senior forward Eric May and incoming freshman guard Anthony Clemmons — both of whom will play with White on Culver’s/Ready Mix — and sophomore forward Gabe Olaseni, who will be teamed up on Pelling/McCurry’s with Marble and former UNI guard Ali Farokhmanesh, who was chosen fifth overall.
Incoming freshman guard Patrick Ingram will not be participating in the PTL this summer, opting to play in a summer league in his hometown of Indianapolis.
The Prime Time League begins play on June 19 with a doubleheader of games, beginning at 6 p.m. with Merchants/Gatens facing Armstrong/Skogman. All games this summer will once again take place at the North Liberty Community Center.
HAWKEYES IN THE PTL (team in parentheses):
1st (overall pick) — Jarrod Uthoff (Merchants/Gatens)
2nd — Mike Gesell (Armstrong/Skogman)
3rd — Aaron White (Culver’s/Ready Mix)
4th — Devyn Marble (Pelling/McCurry’s)
6th — Eric May (Culver’s/Ready Mix)
7th — Melsahn Basabe (Armstrong/Skogman)
8th — Zach McCabe (Merchants/Gatens)
9th — Adam Woodbury (Merchants/Gatens)
10th — Jarryd Cole* (Armstrong/Skogman)
12th — Gabe Olaseni (Pelling/McCurry’s)
14th — Anthony Clemmons (Culver’s/Ready Mix)
16th — Josh Oglesby (Merchants/Gatens)
18th — Kyle Meyer (Armstrong/Skogman)
26th — Darius Stokes (Armstrong/Skogman)
* indicates former Iowa player