Chad Ford, NBA draft guru for ESPN.com, released his mock 4.0 this week (ESPN insider required).
With the 30th pick, Ford predicts the Golden State Warriros will select Jarrod Uthoff, a 6'9" senior forward playing for the tournament-bound University of Iowa. He is also a candidate for Big Ten player of the year honors (the Oscar Robertson award, believe it or not...). Uthoff is currently averaging a robust 18.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for the Hawkeyes.
While Uthoff is a native Iowan (Harrison Barnes connection!), he actually began his career at the University of Wisconsin, playing for the since-retired coach Bo Ryan. Uthoff decided to transfer after his redshirt freshman season, believing Wisconsin's play style was a poor fit for his abilities. Ryan surprisingly denied Uthoff's right to transfer to a variety of major schools Wisconsin may play in coming seasons, leading to a bit of a national controversy -- this is a college student we're talking about! His happiness and education is supposed to take precedence over college rivalries.
Uthoff's penchant for arousing the inner-grump in some retired men only means he'll fit in better with Stephen Curry and the Warriors. But there's more to the stretch forward than that.
Once considered a fringe NBA prospect, Uthoff has rocketed up draft boards thanks to a terrific senior season that may yet earn him a conference MVP award, as well as an All-America team selection. A strong tournament performance may even push him ahead of Golden State's draft spot.
His 6'10.5" wingspan is a little underwhelming for his height, and he is of slight build. However, he already has a nose for shot blocks and tracks the ball well at the rim and on the perimeter (these skills tend to translate to the pros). Uthoff is also one of the few legitimate stretch forwards who figure to be drafted this year. With a career .387 average from three point range, he should remain an effective spot up shooter at the next level, at least.
For a 30th pick, Uthoff has some nice traits to get excited about. The biggest question about this selection is his roster fit. 2015 first round selection Kevon Looney has a slightly different skill set, but largely fills the exact same role: its tough to imagine ways to get use out of both players on this Warriors team.
The 2016 NBA draft will be held June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Jarrod Uthoff of @IowaHoops & Denzel Valentine of @MSU_Basketball named finalists for @TheBigOTrophy. #B1GMBBall pic.twitter.com/asAxiMwTk4— Big Ten Men's Hoops (@B1GMBBall) February 29, 2016
Jarrod Uthoff ranks first in the country in most blocked jump shots with 55, 13 of which have come on 3-point attempts. #Hawkeyes— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) March 1, 2016
Iowa produces the smartest basketball players in the country (really). https://t.co/0g3F07FJv7— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) March 3, 2016
I mean... This is silly, Jarrod Uthoff. #FromDesMoines #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/S8VZpIEA2x— Chris Douglas (@ChrisDouglas515) February 15, 2016
Looks like a Warriors player to me.