UH's Luettgerodt gets a head start
The swingman debuts tonight at Twilight Ohana
Before he ever set foot on campus, Riley Luettgerodt had a head start in learning his role in the Hawaii basketball team's system thanks to a former Rainbow Warrior.
After signing with Hawaii in the spring, the high-scoring swingman spent much of the summer working with former UH point guard Mark Campbell, who lives down the street from his
home in Oregon.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Theme: Freaky Friday the 13th
6:30-8 p.m.: Free carnival games on the court
7-8 p.m.: Live entertainment
8 p.m.: Performances by the Rainbow Dancers and UH cheerleaders
8:15 p.m.: Introduction of players and coaches
9 p.m.: Shot for Tuition for UH student
9:15 p.m.: 3-point shooting and slam-dunk contests
9:30 p.m.: Women's team scrimmage
9:45 p.m.: Men's team scrimmage
White: Matt Gibson, Todd Lowenthal, Bobby Nash, John Wilder, Alex Veit, Todd Follmer, Stephen Verwers.
Green: Marquez Jackson, Matt Lojeski, Jack Miller, Dominic Waters, Jared Dillinger, Riley Luettgerodt, Ahmet Gueye, P.J. Owsley.
White: Janevia Taylor, Pam Tambini, Saundra Cariaga, Amber Lee, Tanya Smith, Megan Tinnin, Shannon Nishi.
Green: Amy Kotani, Brittany Grice, Dalia Solia, Dita Liepkalne, Iwona Zagrobelna, Cassidy Chretien, Leilani Galdones (inj.).
"As soon as I signed I started working out with Mark Campbell," Luettgerodt said. "We'd watch film and that helped a lot. ... I'd watch the plays and see where my shots would come from and I think that sunk in a little bit."
Luettgerodt, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, is part of a six-player class of newcomers on the Rainbow Warriors' roster who will make their Hawaii debuts tonight at Twilight Ohana, the official start of practice, at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Admission to Twilight Ohana is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with carnival games and live entertainment starting the festivities. The players and coaches are scheduled to be introduced at 8:15, dressed up for the "Freaky Friday the 13th" theme.
The women's team's scrimmage is scheduled for 9:30 and the men will play their intrasquad game at 9:45.
Luettgerodt (pronounced LOOT-gur-oat) is used to having his name butchered, and with head coach Riley Wallace around, simply going by his first name poses problems as well.
"Usually my first name is all that needs to be said, but it's a little different here," Luettgerodt said. "Some people joke around and call me 'Little Riley,' but it hasn't stuck yet and hopefully it won't."
If Luettgerodt can come close to matching his production at Chemeketa (Ore.) Community College, his name will soon become a familiar one.
Luettgerodt led the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges with 26.7 points per game last season and was named the Southern Division's Player of the Year. He scored 53 points in a game last season and twice broke the 40-point mark.
He also averaged 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a sophomore at Chemeketa, the same school that produced former UH center Chris Botez.
Although he also takes pride in his passing, Luettgerodt plays with a scorer's motto in his head.
"You can't score unless you shoot it," he said.
Wallace said Luettgerodt had been working at two positions, but is concentrating on learning the small forward spot, where the Rainbows must replace three-year starter Julian Sensley.
Prior to the arrival of the 6-9 Sensley, the position was filled by Michael Kuebler, who joined the program in 2002 after a prolific NWAACC career.
"(Luettgerodt) doesn't shoot it like Kuebler, but he puts it on the floor better, and is probably a little stronger," Wallace said. "He takes it to the hole pretty good and he'll get comfortable in the offense. You don't get 27 a game and not know how to score.
"I told him he needs to slow it down and learn one spot and we'll get the other one later."
Luettgerodt is the latest in a steady stream of players to find their way from the NWAACC to Manoa.
Campbell started the pipeline in 2001 and helped the Rainbows to a 27-6 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Kuebler followed the next year and hit a school-record 97 3-pointers in 2003-04. Botez, a center, completed his eligibility last season.
Luettgerodt was familiar with the Hawaii program after following the exploits of Campbell and Kuebler with the Rainbows. He met up with Campbell, now an assistant coach at Clackamas Community College, and Kuebler last year, and they helped point him in Hawaii's direction.
"Pretty much every day I worked out with Mark in the summer, he lives like 5 minutes from my house," Luettgerodt said. "He just said he thought this would be a good place and said I could do well here."
Joining Luettgerodt in this year's class of newcomers are sophomore center Todd Follmer, freshman guards Marquez Jackson and Todd Lowenthal, and junior forwards P.J. Owsley and Alex Veit.
Guard/forward Jared Dillinger and center Stephen Verwers are eligible this season after sitting out last year due to transfer rules.