It's all brains, boards and basketball for Jacobs' Krutwig
It's one thing when a high school basketball team has a 6-foot-9, 270-pound force of nature on the roster ala Jacobs senior Cameron Krutwig.
It's quite another thing when said force comes with an unteachable maturity level, a vast basketball acumen and a motor that would make a race car jealous.
Krutwig's rare combination of brain, brawn and determination is what attracted the attention of Loyola coach Porter Moser, for whom he will play collegiately next year.
It's why he owns team-best averages of 15.3 points and 13.5 rebounds for a squad that enters Friday's Class 4A regional title game as a No. 1 sub-sectional seed with a 27-1 record.
It's why he is stands on the precipice of cracking the top 10 on the IHSA all-time rebounding list.
It's why Cameron Krutwig, the second son of Lake In The Hills residents Kevin and Lori Krutwig, has been named honorary captain of the 2016-17 Daily Herald All-Area Team/Fox Valley.
Cam follows in the footsteps of older brother Conrad Krutwig, who was named honorary co-captain of the 2008-09 Daily Herald All-Area Team/Fox Valley and went on to star at Wisconsin-Parkside.
Cam was always the big kid growing up. "He was a 6-foot 11-year-old. He was frickin' huge." Conrad said. However, he defies many big-man stereotypes. Cam carries a 3.3 grade-point average, enjoys studying history and intends to study business at Loyola alongside Larkin senior standout Christian Negron, also committed to the Ramblers.
"It's not always about being the fastest or being the guy who jumps the highest," Cam said. "It's not all about athleticism. A lot of it is what's in your head, the mental game, being the smartest on the floor, knowing all the sets we run, knowing the matchups. Being the most vocal guys counts, too. It's about knowing every detail of our offense. Knowing our sets helps put me into the game, puts me in the moment."
It helps put opponents on the run, too. Krutwig uses his knowledge of Jacobs' offense to find open perimeter looks for his teammates. Such inside-out passing is why he averages 2.4 assists, second on his team only to point guard Nikolas Balkcom.
"He's not an oaf. He's a basketball player," Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts said. "That's what Porter loves about him, his basketball IQ, how much Cam loves the game, how he loves to pass and get on the perimeter and handle the ball."
Cam Krutwig speaks fluent basketball, thanks to immersion in the language of the sport during Conrad's playing days. He tagged along whenever he could with Conrad's friends, a who's who of Jacobs standouts like all-time leading scorer Johnny Moran and former all-area players Tim Moran and Zack Peterson, the latter of whom are Jacobs assistant coaches under Roberts.
Cam attended most every Jacobs home game during Conrad's heyday, experiencing the excitement of a packed house in the old Eagles Nest gymnasium followed by games in the spacious new competition gym.
"Being involved in basketball young like that, it was big to see what it was like," Cam said. "It was crazy back then. It was like the Dundee-Crown game at our place (on Feb. 24). Living and growing up in that environment just became the norm. It was all basketball for me with Conrad leading the way."
Cam credits Conrad for teaching him more about basketball than any individual. Conrad, a right-hander, said he enjoyed imparting his knowledge of post play to his "little" brother, though Cam is left-handed.
"People assume everyone is right-handed so they tend to guard against his right shoulder more than his left," Conrad said. "Helping him develop counter moves was like me playing with some new toys."
Cam spreads the credit for his success among many mentors. He points to coaches Daniel Martens and Jason Russell of Westfield Middle School in Algonquin as early influences. In fact, Krutwig said he exchanged a hug last week when he saw Russell, now an assistant coach at rival Dundee-Crown.
Cam also credited his AAU coach throughout his high school years, Mike Weinstein of Fundamental U., for using his contacts to help accrue 10 Division I offers.
Cam gives the most credit for his development to Roberts and assistant coach Jack Denny. They, he said, were the ones who got him in the weight room as a freshman and stayed on him for four years, thereby transforming him into a physical player who has scored 1,458 career points.
Cam not only holds single-game, season and career rebounding records at Jacobs, he has become one of the most prolific rebounders in state history with 1,211. He needs 5 rebounds in Friday's regional title game against St. Charles North to move into 10th place on the all-time IHSA list. He needs 24 more rebounds to move into ninth.
Cam keeps track of his career rebound total on an app on his phone, not out of vanity, but out of respect for IHSA history and his place within it. "He's conscious of it," Roberts said. "In that way he reminds me of Tiger Woods, how he pays attention to the history of his sport."
Soon, it will be Moser's turn to shape Krutwig. The Jacobs star hopes his experience at Loyola will be historic in basketball terms.
"I definitely want to make the NCAA Tournament," Krutwig said of a program that last made the dance in 1985. "We've got a pretty good recruiting class coming in, they only have one senior and they're fourth in the (Missouri) Valley. After this season I want to focus on how I can be the best college basketball player I can be.
"But I hope I don't have to focus on that for a couple more weeks."
Getting to know Cam Krutwig
Favorite pregame meal: Potbelly. Big smoked ham on white, extra mayo, oil and Italian seasoning
Favorite music: Mostly everything besides classical and heavy metal (Temptations, Credence Clearwater Revival, Drake, Four Tops, J. Cole. Michael Jackson is my favorite).
Favorite song: Too many to chose from.
Favorite movies: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Where Eagles Dare, The Dirty Dozen, Star Wars
Favorite college sports team: Loyola Ramblers.
Favorite pro sports team: Bulls, Bears, and Cubs
Favorite class in school: History
Role model: My dad
The game I'll never forget: overtime win in regional final against DeKalb, Game winner against Crystal Lake South freshman year.
Quote to live by: "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda