Tellinghuisen takes charge at SDSU
East Sac County graduate making a difference for Div. I?Jackrabbits
BROOKINGS, S.D. — Reed Tellinghuisen has never struggled to stand out above the rest.
The former East Sac County all-stater arrived on the campus of South Dakota State University and was almost immediately inserted into the starting lineup.
Tellinghuisen has flourished for the Jackrabbits, as the junior is the second-leading scorer this year after helping SDSU reach the NCAA Tournament last March.
Through 19 games, the 6-foot-7 Tellinghuisen is second on the team in points (220) and rebounds (85), while leading the way in assists (41), blocks (12) and steals (17).
“Winning the Summit League and being able to play Maryland in the Big Dance has been my most memorable moment here so far,” Tellinghuisen said. “It’s been awesome and something that I hope someday my own kids get to experience. That atmosphere is awesome and the NCAA takes very good care of you.
“It’s a great feeling, being in the national spotlight and being able to play in front of so many family, friends and community members.”
As a 12 seed, the Jackrabbits nearly upset Maryland last March, falling 79-74. In 2015, SDSU reached the second round of the NIT, beating Colorado State and losing to Vanderbilt. They have qualified for a postseason tournament every season since 2012 — eight years after they made the jump from the Div. II level.
Prior to the start of the season, Tellinghuisen was named a co-captain. That’s given him the chance to lead by example both on and off the court.
“I have definitely taken on more of a leadership role, given now I’m one of most experienced players on the team,” he said. “With a new coaching staff and a lot of new transfers and players, we had a pretty slow start to the season with our tough schedule.
“We had just three guys returning who played significant minutes a year ago.”
T.J. Otzelberger replaced Scott Nagy as head coach after spending time on the Iowa State bench as an assistant. He was also an assistant at Washington between his two stints with the Cyclones. Nagy took the head job at Wright State.
“It was a bit of a transition phase (with all the new pieces),” Tellinghuisen said. “We have picked it up since and improved our record, and the team has been flowing a lot better.
“I feel I’ve been doing a better job of contributing both on the offensive and defensive ends by trying to improve and pick up from some of the guys we lost last year.”
Tellinghuisen knows how much of a role chemistry both on and off the court plays in the development of a team.
“It was very important to get to know each other as we were putting together a lot of new pieces. Transition phases can oftentimes be tough, and it showed early in the season, but I think it has improved quite a bit.
“I obviously needed to improve in all aspects of my game in order to contribute more to the team in order to win games.”
Being in his third season now, Tellinghuisen has figured out the right balance to school and basketball.
“It can be tough, but making sure you keep up-to-date with professors and tutors is important to academic success,” he said. “I think building that relationship is key. Most professors are very understanding about missing time and allowing you to make it up if you go and talk to them, explaining why you are not there.”
All of the extra work started long before the year for Tellinghuisen and the Jackrabbits. After a successful run under Nagy, the former Raider knew he needed to be prepared to shoulder more of a load this winter.
“There are a lot of sacrifices you have to make in order to complete that dream (of playing Div. I basketball),” he said. “Many athletes don’t understand the time you have to invest into working on your game every single day. That is a very important aspect.”
Tellinghuisen has adjusted his own body to the rigors of playing in the Summit League, packing on 30 pounds since his rookie season at SDSU. He started the first four games of his freshman campaign, and has not missed a game since.
“Div. I basketball is much more physical than high school; my first day on campus was an eye-opening experience,” he said. “(Growing into) a more physical player has allowed me to become a matchup problem for other teams.
“I’m able to take a smaller defender and post them up, and if there is a bigger defender on me, I’m able to play on the perimeter and make them guard more than they are used to.”
Tellinghuisen has also been named to the Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence last year and the Summit League Distinguished Scholar and Honor Roll each of his first two years on campus.
THE TELLINGHUISEN FILE
Junior (19 games, 19 starts)
11.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 41 assists, 12 blocks, 17 steals
Sophomore (34 games, 34 starts)
9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 40 assists, 14 blocks, 11 steals
Freshman (35 games, 23 starts)
8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 34 assists, 19 blocks, 20 steals