Jacobs graduate Cameron Krutwig knew he had to make one major change in order to be a Division I men's college basketball player.
"I had to drop 30 pounds to play at the speed and pace of the game," said Krutwig, the 2016-17 Honorary Captain of the Daily Herald's All-Area Boys Basketball Team and now a freshman on the Loyola-Chicago men's team.
So Krutwig did just that.
"It happened over the summer and into the fall. I lost 30 pounds from May to October," he said. "I've been working for three or fourth months at it. The training staff at Loyola has been great in helping me out with watching what I eat and with activity. I changed my diet. I stopped eating crap and stopped eating when I was bored. The workouts were going to come because we lift and we run. That's not hard. What is hard is changing eating habits, for sure."
Krutwig said he was an offender of late-night snacking.
"I would eat anything," he said. "My biggest offense was late-night snacking. I would eat when I was bored and it would be around midnight-1 a.m. I would eat for fun. Right before bed is the worst time to eat. It sits in your stomach and turns right into fat. This was a big change for me. I used to eat bigger meals throughout the day and not many snacks. I've been eating more granola bars and protein shakes to help offset the diet when I get bored. Every once in a while I have a slip up. Not always. I used to eat portions that would be horrible. I would eat a ton of food. Now I can kick it back a little. I can have some bad foods, but not a ton of them. It helps me control my diet. I'm going to get my exercise in for the day that's not a problem. Knowing what to eat and when to eat is the big thing."
Krutwig talked to the Daily Herald on the team bus headed to the University of Florida where the Ramblers wound up upsetting No. 5 Florida team 65-59 Wednesday to improve to 9-1 on the season. Krutwig had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 36 minutes of action.
Prior to the big Florida win, the 6-foot-9 Krutwig had a season-high 17 points in a win against Wright State. Krutwig is averaging 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting .551 from the field and .781 from the free-throw line as a true freshman.
"Moving into the starting lineup helped me get my feet wet," he said. "Also being good friends with the guys and having that team chemistry has helped me develop a good sense of what my role is and what I have to do every night to help us win."
Krutwig said preparation at the college level is a must. "Every game we go into, we have a game plan on how we are going to beat the other team and how to defend the stuff being run against us," he said. "Being on top of the game plan gives me confidence before the game in what I am going to do and where I need to be on the floor. Preparation breeds confidence. If I'm prepared before the game, I can insert myself into the game plan and take off from there."
And Krutwig has launched himself into a promising college career.
"I didn't expect to get off to this hot of a start," he said. "The guys on the team have been good to me. They have incorporated me into the offense and they make the shots I pass to them. This is a good group of guys that is going to keep moving forward and hopefully continue to have the success we have been having."
Krutwig said the jump from Jacobs to NCAA Division I hoops is significant.
"It's a big difference," he said. "The speed of the game is a lot faster. I knew I couldn't play at the weight I was at in high school. When I dropped that weight it relieved the stress on my body. My body feels better and I move better. I'm able to guard better and guard the ball screens. This is a lot different than high school. We had a lot of terms to learn in high school. In college it's crazy the amount of stuff you have to learn and remember. There is a lot of scouting here, more than we did in high school. It's been a little bit of an adjustment. Jacobs did prepare me to play at the next level. Coach (Jimmy) Roberts did a good job of scouting and knowing our opponent and running our stuff. The physical side with losing the weight is very hard to do. The mental side has been a little easier."
Krutwig, who is interested in studying the entrepreneur side of business management with a minor in history, said he's happy with the choice he made with Loyola.
"I like being on the campus at Loyola," he said. "When winter break comes, I can chill out and see my family and friends. I like that my family and friends can come down here to every game. The school part of it is more challenging than high school, but I'm adjusting well to it. I like being so close to the city."
Krutwig said he's been able to lean on his older brother, Connor, for advice. Connor Krutwig also was a star at Jacobs and went on to play at South Dakota and UW-Parkside. Connor Krutwig now runs a basketball training company in the area called Man Up Basketball and is the Jacobs youth boys feeder program director.
"Connor always has been supportive," said Cameron Krutwig. "When I made my decision on where I wanted to play he was there for me. He always has stories from college to tell me. If I'm the road, he'll remember a road story. It's cool to have him as a resource. I'll call him out of the blue to talk basketball. I'm happy he's with me."
And based on his hot start, the Ramblers have to be happy the younger Krutwig is with them.
Off at College wants your help: Send information and/or statistics on Fox Valley-area athletes playing collegiately to Mike Miazga at email@example.com.