Algonquin native Krutwig showing off with Loyola
A key figure during Loyola's run to the NCAA Final Four, Algonquin's Cameron Krutwig looked far beyond his years as a freshman on college basketball's biggest stage.
Two years later, the 6'9 junior center is in the midst of something even more impressive -- potentially the greatest individual season in the history of Loyola basketball. As the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year, Krutwig leads the Ramblers in 16.3 points per game, 8.1 rebounds and even in assists with 4.3 per contest.
"He's absolutely key to us and that's why we run a ton of our offense through him," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "He makes our guys better and I don't know how many times in the game of basketball you can say your center makes everybody better and (Krutwig) is one of those guys."
Prior to joining the Ramblers in 2017, Krutwig put together an illustrious career at Jacobs High School where he was a four-year varsity starter. Accumulating a 93-29 record, a trio of regional championships and landing fourth on Jacobs' all-time scorers list, head coach Jimmy Roberts said Krutwig left no doubt he would become a force in college basketball.
"He's not just a physically gifted player but his IQ and his love for the game are what truly set him apart then and now as a player," Roberts said. "He's the type of person that everybody wants to see succeed."
With over 20 offers from top-tier college basketball programs in hand however, Krutwig said he was drawn to budding local program Loyola-Chicago and the culture that Coach Porter Moser was creating in Rogers Park. Eventually signing on Aug. 2, 2016, he wasted no time becoming a key to Loyola's accent to national relevance.
"I really just felt a great fit at Loyola," Krutwig said. "The Missouri Valley Conference is a great league and what Coach Moser was building here really caught my eye from the beginning of my recruitment."
As a freshman Krutwig found his way into the Ramblers' starting lineup after a mere three games and refused to give up that spot. Scoring 10.5 points and snagging 6.1 rebounds per game, he captured MVC Freshman of the Year honors and helped Loyola to a program-record 32 wins and an NCAA tournament run for the ages.
"Just the confidence he displayed as a freshman it was unbelievable to watch and he's been a great ambassador for our program," Roberts said.
Krutwig doubled down on these performances as a sophomore, as he became the focal point of Moser's offense that employs four guards and a center. Seeing increases in nearly every statistical category, Krutwig won a spot on the All-MVC first team and a close second in MVC Player of the Year voting to his teammate Marques Townes.
"Krut even last year he was second in MVP voting and was so key to where we got at the end of the year, Moser said. "His maturity to step in and become a playmaker in our offense alongside (Clayton Custer) and (Marques Townes) was phenomenal."
Securing MVC Preseason Player of the Year honors and a spot on the Lou Henson shortlist for most valuable player at a mid-major school, Krutwig entered the 2019-20 season with plenty of hype, but even greater responsibilities.
Tasked with replacing the production of graduating stars Townes and Custer, Krutwig said he faced the biggest challenge of his collegiate career thus far -- shouldering the program himself -- one he's handled and exceeded at so far this season.
"This year I think I faced the challenge of having to really be the guy now," Krutwig said. "My first two seasons I think I was pretty vocal but this year has all been about stepping into that leadership role especially with all of the new guys on this team."
Leading the Ramblers to a 10-6 record and a 2-1 start to conference play, Krutwig's performances have seemed to only improve since the season began. The team's leading scorer in eight of their 16 contests thus far, Krutwig caught the eye of fans across the nation Dec. 18 when he did the unthinkable on national television -- record a triple-double from the center position.
The first triple-double in the history of Loyola basketball, Krutwig showcased his abilities as a scorer, rebounder and passer over a dominant 36 minutes. Leaving Vanderbilt with no answer for him down low as he torched the Commodores for 22 points, 10 assists and snagged his tenth rebound in the game's closing seconds.
"With (Krutwig) we just hold him to such a high standard," Moser said. "None of us we're surprised by his performance in the Vanderbilt game and people think he's going to have another one."
With Krutwig leading the way, the Ramblers enter Missouri Valley Conference play with a clear goal in mind -- securing the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Echoing these goals, Krutwig said he could care less about personal accolades and highlights, knowing his only true intention is to win and get his team back to the NCAA tournament.
"We always say it's about the name on the front of the jersey not the back," Krutwig said. "We know where our goals are going forward and if we keep executing and playing like the team we're capable of we can achieve them, that's for sure."