Jarrod Uthoff: Memories of Big Eight basketball
Jarrod Uthoff, the Wisconsin basketball player who wants to transfer and was at the center of a firestorm when Badger coach Bo Ryan gave Uthoff a mile-long list of schools Wisconsin wouldn’t approve, made me think of Big Eight basketball. That’s right, Big Eight.
Uthoff, a high school star in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a cousin of former Iowa State center Dean Uthoff. Only old-timers will remember Uthoff — a raw-boned, 6-foot-11 center who led the Big Eight in rebounding four straight years, 1977 through 1980.
Those were not glory years for the Cyclones. Those were the four seasons Iowa State was coached by Lynn Nance. The four years between Ken Trickey (who went 13-40 in two seasons) and Johnny Orr (who became a Cyclone icon). In those four seasons, Iowa State went 8-19, 14-13, 11-16, 11-16. So in no way were those the salad days of Cyclone hoops.
But Uthoff was a rock inside. He averaged double digit points and rebounds every season except for his 9.0 rebounds as a senior. His career averages: 11.5 points, 11.4 rebounds. He played with a bunch of guys no one outside of Iowa remembers, except Andrew Parker, who rings a little bell, having averaged over 20 points a game in 1978 and 1979.
Thinking of Uthoff made me think of all those grand old Big Eight teams I watched as a kid in the ’70s and covered some in the ’80s.
Iowa State’s Bill Cain and Jim Abrahamson and Hercle Ivy. Ivy averaged 18.1, 28.3 and 22.8 points a game his three seasons. Yep, 28.3. And Barry Stevens and Jeff Hornacek and Jeff Grayer and Lafester Rhodes and Victor Alexander.
Kansas State’s Steve Mitchell (the pride of Northwest Classen) and Danny Beard and Lon Kruger (whatever happened to him) and Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans and Carl Gerlach and Darryl Winston and Larry Dassie and Curtis Redding and Rolando Blackman and Ed Nealy and Norris Coleman and Mitch Richmond and Steve Henson.
KU’s Bud Stallworth and Dave Robisch and Pierre Russell and the Kivisto brothers and Roger Brown and Rick Suttle and Danny Knight and Roger Morningstar and Norm Cook and Ken Koenigs and Paul Mokeski and John Douglas and Donnie Von Moore and Darnell Valentine and Tony Guy and Kelly Knight and Carl Henry and Calvin Thompson and Greg Dreiling and Ron Kellogg and Cedric Hunter and Danny Manning and Kevin Pritchard and Milt Newton and Mark Randall and Mike Maddox. Man, I knew a bunch of Jayhawks.
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