Former Jacobs star Krutwig leads Loyola as one of top players in MVC
Most high school athletes moving on to the next level want to work on getting bigger and stronger, to adjust to the increased physical demands of college sports.
Four years ago, former Jacobs star Cameron Krutwig definitely wanted to get stronger as he started his career with the Loyola men's basketball team.
But bigger? Well, not so much.
"I was pretty big in high school, over 300 pounds," said the 6-foot-9 Krutwig, a two-time all-state selection who finished fourth on Jacobs' all-time scoring chart with 1,528 points and first with 1,281 rebounds while guiding the Eagles to three regional championships and 93 wins in four varsity seasons.
"I didn't move slow, I moved well. But I knew I needed to get quicker for college," Krutwig said. "Anyone out of high school going into college knows you have to work on getting a college body and most guys want to get bigger. I knew I needed to go in the other direction, lose weight, get the excess fat off and change my body so that I could get quicker."
Krutwig says that he put in extra time in the weight room, and worked with bands and did agility and mobility work and jumping and lateral movements. As he leaned up, he could tell that he had an extra bounce in his step.
"People still look at me and think that because I'm a tall guy, I'm going to be slow," Krutwig said. "But I am quicker now. I'm sneaky quick."
Krutwig, who has put on muscle but shed nearly 50 pounds since his Jacobs days to drop to around 255 pounds, sure didn't catch anyone by surprise on Monday when he was named the Missouri Valley Conference player of the week.
Krutwig averaged 22 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.5 blocks in guiding Loyola (3-1) to wins over Chicago State and UIC last week.
A starter in nearly every game during his rookie campaign, the season that Loyola enjoyed its magical Cinderella run to the 2018 Final Four, Krutwig has been an important piece for the Ramblers from the moment he stepped on campus in Rogers Park. Now, as a senior, he's the team leader, averaging a team-high 17.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He's also rolled up 8 of Loyola's 9 total blocks on the season.
"I feel like I'm playing really well right now," Krutwig said. "You can always improve your game, and I never want to be satisfied. But I'm feeling good, and even in our loss (at No. 12 Wisconsin on Tuesday), I thought we showed that we can play with anyone. I think I played well and played physical with them, and that's one of the best teams in the country."
Krutwig is used to that level of competition. He was faced with it right away at Loyola.
He started 34 of 38 games during his freshman campaign for the Ramblers as they won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, and kept chugging through the NCAA tournament, where he had 9 points and 7 rebounds in an Elite 8 win over Kansas State, and a team-high 17 points and 6 rebounds against Michigan in the Final Four.
On the season, Krutwig was named the MVC Freshman of the Year while averaging 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while connecting on 59.8 percent of his field goal attempts.
"That's a big thing to do first. You can't write it up much better than that," Krutwig said of getting to a Final Four as a freshman. "It was so crazy and so fun. After the Kansas State game, to realize that we were going to the Final Four, that's my favorite moment. Everyone remembers that moment, and that team. and it will be good to look back on that over the years.
"I think doing that gave us all a little bit of an edge, to play on a big-time stage like that. It gives you a confidence in yourself."
Krutwig, who was named first-team all-MVC as a sophomore and a junior and averaged 15.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and shot 56.3 percent from the floor last season to become the first player in the history of the MVC to rank in the top five in league scoring, rebounding, assists and field goal percentage, is also confident that his career will continue after this season.
He wants to play professionally either here or overseas.
"Obviously, I want to shoot for the highest I can go," said Krutwig, who entered his senior season at Loyola with 1,384 career points and 737 career rebounds. "But any level of pro ball would be good. Pro ball is pro ball and I would be excited for the experience just to see what it's like. I don't want to have any regrets and I want to play for as long as I can. I want to take basketball as far as I can take it."