By: Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations Kevin Ruple
BEREA, Ohio -- Seniors Cam Kuhn '18 (Vermilion) and Jake Fetherolf '18 (Norwalk) are "like peanut butter and jelly" and serve as "Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside" for the Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball team. The duo have each had a prolific career on the court for the Yellow Jackets, but their goal is to win a Div. III national championship.
"We are playing really well right now," said Kuhn, a health and physical education major who would like to teach and coach after graduation. He leads the team and is fourth in the OAC with a 19.7 points-per-game scoring average and ranks seventh all-time in school history with 1,760 career points. "We have great chemistry and camaraderie."
"We have beaten two Top-10 teams so far and we have the confidence that we can play with anyone in Division III," said Fetherolf, a 3:2 Master's of Accounting major, who is one of only seven men's basketball players to score more than 1,100 points and grab more than 800 rebounds. The OAC [Ohio Athletic Conference] is the best Div. III conference in the country. Every OAC game prepares us for the tests ahead."
Playing Together at BW
Kuhn and Fetherolf are both playing their fourth full season at BW and are on track to graduate this spring. Kuhn is a three-time All-OAC selection and Fetherolf, who played three games as a freshman in 2012-2013 before declaring for a medical hardship, is twice All-OAC.
"We are very aware of what the other one is doing on the court," said Kuhn, who also is second on the team with 44 assists and is second with 4.6 rebounds-per-game. "With Jake, I can give him the ball down low and he can post up and take it to the hoop or I can drive to the hoop and then kick it out to him for the three. He's very versatile in terms of his ability to score."
"Cam is pretty much good anywhere inside the half court line," said a joking Fetherolf, who scores 12.9 ppg. and leads the OAC with 10.3 rpg., including a career-high 18 on January 20 versus Marietta College. "The thing about Cam is that he's gotten more diverse each year. He's been a better, scorer, defender, passer and rebounder every year at BW. Heck he scored 51 in a game and holds the record."
Leaders On and Off the Court
"Cam and Jake have had an incredible impact on our program over the past four years," said third-year Head Coach Tom Heil, who is 29-15 since coming to BW from Defiance where he served as its head coach for just one season.
"Both have been four-year starters who have stuffed the statistics sheet since they arrived on campus," said Heil, who has led BW to a 14-6 record this season and in third place in the OAC at 8-4. "Their legacy will go well beyond their statistics. Both have developed into leaders both off and on the court, and the relationships they have with their teammates are what will live on long after they've graduated."
Heil Knows Both Very Well
Heil, who was the head assistant coach to former head coach and 1993 graduate Duane Sheldon for five seasons before going to Defiance, knows both well and feels the duo are keys to any future success this season.
"Cam and Jake are unbelievably dedicated to BW, this basketball program and being great team leaders who are great role models for each of our younger players," said Heil.
"Cam is the definition of a gym rat," said Heil. "His work-ethic is unmatched. He has set the standard for what working on your game looks like on a daily basis. Basketball is his passion, and he has worked relentlessly on his craft.
"Cam, by-nature, is a leader by-example," said Heil. "I am proud of the way he has stepped outside his comfort zone and been much more vocal this year. Our team has benefitted from him having a bigger voice this year on the court and in the locker room."
"Jake also has a terrific work-ethic on and off the court," continued Heil. "While Jake is physically imposing (six-foot seven inches tall and 220 pounds), he has a great sense of humor and a unique ability to lighten the mood when it's tense.
"Jake also has grown into a leader who is confident enough to speak up in front of the group when he has something to say," continued Heil. "He is respected, and when he speaks up, his teammates listen. "It has taken a lot of effort by Jake, and I am proud of the growth he's shown as a leader."
"The largest impact both Cam and Jake have made this season as leaders is the connection they have with our underclassmen," said Heil. "This is what legacy is all about, and why our seniors live on well past their last game at BW."
The Dynamic Duo are the Straws That Stir The Drink
Kuhn had his school-record 51-point outburst in a double-overtime game at the University of Mount Union as a sophomore and has continued to climb the scoring chart at BW and at the same time deliver rebounds (362), assists (205), steals (73) and three-pointers (158). He recently earned his fourth career OAC Player of the Week honor when he had back-to-back games of 25 and 28 points in wins at home versus Mt. Union and on the road at Wilmington College. He also is an 85.4 percent career free throw shooter on 440 of 515 career attempts.
Fetherolf enters the second half of the OAC campaign ranked 28th all-time with 1,100 career points and sixth all-time 913 rebounds. He is an excellent shooter for a big man as he has connected on 429 of 813 field goals for 52.8%, including 99 of 248 three-pointers, ad cans 76.5% of his foul shots on 143 of 187 attempts. Fetherolf also has 89 blocked shots and 66 steals and is having his best season shooting three-pointers at 43.3% on a team-leading 42 of 97 attempts.
They Love Being Senior Leaders
"We love playing basketball at BW," said Kuhn. "Coach Sheldon and now Heil are outstanding coaches and I have made friends for life."
"We all get along really well," said Fetherolf. "We work well as a team and have a lot of unselfish teammates. One game it is Cam, one game its Jay (junior All-OAC point guard Jenisys "Jay" Battle '19 (Gahanna), one game it is Mike Kaminski or Michael [sophomore guard Michael Quiring '20 (Brunswick) or myself or the bench. Everyone is contributing to our success."
The Goals for Yellow Jackets
"We still have a very difficult second half of the OAC schedule to play," said Fetherolf, "and we are really looking forward to it. We know if we can succeed and play well in the OAC that it will prepare us for the OAC Tournament and hopefully a berth in the Div. III National Tournament."
"That is the end game," said Kuhn. "An OAC title, both regular season and tournament, and spot in the national tournament. This is what we've worked hard to accomplish the last four years. We just need to keep getting better and continue to play team basketball."