Australia is not a stranger to claiming talented stars who aren’t exactly their own.
Russell Crowe is a well know case who despite being born in New Zealand and twice being rejected as an Australian citizen we still like to claim him as our own.
In basketball it’s no different as shown when Kyrie Irving exploded onto NBA draft boards we celebrated “Aussie Kyrie” due to his first two years of life being spent Melbourne.
Sadly it was evident when even Nick Young became engaged to Sydney’s Iggy Azalea the basketball fan base in Australia became excited to see “Swaggy P” suit up in Boomers green and gold.
So when Jarrod Uthoff, cousin (third cousin actually) of NBL legend Dean Uthoff is called up onto the stage at this years NBA draft, surely we can claim him as another “adopted aussie”.
The 6-foot-11 Dean (now a naturalised Australian) played at Iowa State from 1976 to 1980 before a 12 year career in the NBL.
Uthoff’s career was remarkable to say the least, a career which included;
- Led the league in rebounding 3 times
- Owning 4 of the highest single game rebound hauls of all-time (34 boards vs Hobart in ’84 being one of them)
- A 60.3% career field goal percentage
- Named as a Sydney Kings legend in their 25th Anniversary celebrations.
He also finished as the Iowa State’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,233, now at the university of Iowa, the bitter rival of Iowa State another Uthoff is making his mark in the Big Ten conference.
Dean was a sixth-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1980, but didn’t make the team. It was shortly after his former Iowa State teammate Chuck Harmison convinced him to join him in the NBL.
Jarrod appears set to go to that extra step with current NBA mock drafts listing him as an early second round pick (around pick 41-47).
Funnily enough he may join another member of the NBL family with Dante Exum’s Utah Jazz having picks #43 and #45 in this year’s draft.
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) January 6, 2016
Jarrod is currently averaging 18.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks for the Hawkeyes and while clearly showing he shares his cousin’s ability to rebound he is definitely faster and more athletic than his cousin ever was.
Physically Jarrod may be able to stand nose to nose with his cousin, both being listed at 208cm but he is 20 kilograms lighter than Dean.
This shouldn’t be a surprise as the “man-mountain”, who weighed in at an impressive 120 kg during his career still has him as the one of NBL’s heaviest players of all time.
In addition to all of this Jarrod also has an impressive long range game which NBA scouts are drooling over.
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) January 17, 2016
If you’re reading this it’s highly likely you will be watching the NBA draft when the son of an NBL legend is drafted as the first pick in the draft (kudos Ben Simmons), but here’s the heads up that you should stick around to watch the second round to celebrate another relative of an NBL legend beginning his NBA journey.