‘Buff up the basketball scene’: Jacobs graduate Cameron Krutwig starts local summer camp

Loyola Chicago's Cameron Krutwig, center, looks to pass as Valparaiso's Jacob Ognacevic (34) and Ben Krikke defend during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Chicago. Loyola Chicago won 54-52. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Former Jacobs basketball player Cameron Krutwig wants to bring basketball back to McHenry County.

“Our area is not really known for basketball, I would say,” Krutwig said. “It’s more of a football and baseball type of area. I see a couple of guys getting drafted into the MLB, so we want to try and buff up the basketball scene in the Fox Valley. Basketball has been so good to me, it’s taken me so many places, and I kind of want to give back and teach something.

“I just wanted to give back and bring a new type of experience to the community.”

Krutwig, the 6-foot-9 center who became a national darling at Loyola, helping the Ramblers to the Men’s Tournament Final Four as a freshman, will run a camp at Barrington’s Canlan Sportsplex with his Krutwig Basketball Academy, beginning Aug. 1 and ending Aug. 4.

Cost is $250 per camper and includes a practice jersey. Spots are limited but still available, Krutwig said, and those interested can get more information and register at KrutwigBasketballAcademy.com. Registration must be completed by July 31. Middle school camp (grades 6-8) will go from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and high school camp (grades 9-12) will go from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Krutwig finished his illustrious four-year career at Loyola in an elite group of former Missouri Valley Conference players to have more than 1,500 points, 800 rebounds and 300 assists: Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson, Indiana State’s Larry Bird and Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins.

He spent last year playing professional basketball in Belgium with the Telenet Giants Antwerp in the BNXT League but will not return after the team hired a new coach and chose not to bring him back, Krutwig said. He is currently exploring other options to continue playing in Europe or Asia.

Campers will get instruction from Krutwig and another former area standout, Amanze Egekeze, who graduated from Huntley and played in the same league as Krutwig in the Netherlands. Campers also will compete in live scrimmages.

Krutwig is excited to get started.

“Basketball might not be for everybody, and that’s OK, but if you sign up for my camp, it’s my impression that you want to get better, you want to come here and learn,” Krutwig said. “I’m going to try and push you a little bit. We’re going to learn some things, but we’re going to do it in a competitive and fun environment. We’re going to encourage you and teach you the right ways.”

Krutwig wants to help players grow their game in multiple areas.

“I think screening has become such a lost art at the youth level and even high school,” Krutwig said. “There’s a proper way to screen, there’s proper ways to read angles. Myself as a big man, when I was growing up, basketball was kind of still in that phase where the big man doesn’t really have to dribble much. Now it’s completely changed. Every player, no matter how tall or how small, needs to be able to dribble, pass and shoot.

“And, so big men, guards, we’re going to do a lot of dribbling, try to improve our ball handling. I want to give kids some drills, some exercises to do on their own.”

Krutwig still uses lessons and skills from camps he attended while he was growing up. It’s his hope that kids get the same type of experience, while also becoming familiar with other players in the area.

“I remember when I was younger and went to an Under Armour camp in Charlotte, and a couple of good coaches and big men that used to play in the NBA were there,” Krutwig said. “Pervis Ellison, he played at Louisville, I learned a few things from him. He taught me a little bit about shooting a hook shot, maybe just float it up and float it in and that kind of stuck with me. I was able to kind of grow my game in ways like that.”

Krutwig doesn’t want his camp to be a one-time thing. He hopes to bring it back every year.

“A four-day camp, 2 1/2 hours, you may get better that week, but you’ve got to continue to work to get better,” Krutwig said. “I want to try to give the kids drills, little snippets and things to take with them, so they can continue to grow their game even beyond my camp.

“Just a week of good basketball, good learning, good instruction and being competitive.”