When you get right down to it, Reed Tellinghuisen will soon bring to a close one of the finest four years in Jackrabbit men’s basketball history.
“I’m taking it day by day and capturing the moment,” he says, “because I don’t have many more days left. There’s a lot of people that say it seems like I’ve been here 5 or 6 years. You go on the road and the other fans are like, Geez, when are you going to graduate? But it’s gone by too fast for me. I wish I had a couple more years left. But I just take it day by day do whatever I can to make sure this team is successful.”
This IS actually only his fourth year on the team. He broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and has been there ever since. Going into this weekend’s game against Western Illinois, Tellinghuisen has 120 career starts, more than any other player ever at South Dakota State University.
“Reed is so important to our team in so many ways,” says Jackrabbit head coach T.J. Otzelberger. “His character, his personality mean a lot and his calmness in the course of games. He’s a veteran who is a 4-year starter who we are looking at now I believe has started more games than anybody to wear a Jackrabbit uniform. His assist to turnover ratio tells me a big story. It is 2-to-1 which is a guy who calms our team down and who makes simple plays.”
The team does not keep official stats on taking charges. But Tellinghuisen is well-known to Jackrabbit fans as the guy who is most willing to do it and the most successful at standing his ground and goading some big behemoth on the other team into an offensive foul. Impact plays, so to speak.
“I’m going to be out there and do whatever it takes for our team to win whether it is rebounding that night or taking charges or blocks. Doing whatever,” says the slender 6-foot-7 senior who averaged 24 points per game over his last two seasons at East Sac County High School in Iowa. “Scoring has never been a big importance to me especially when I hit the college level. I’ve taken the game in a whole new perspective compared to high school and I think my value to the team is being a team leader and doing the small things right.”
“It will never leave my mind,” says Otzelberger, “in the conference tournament last year. The blocks, the charges, the loose ball deflections and steals and how impactful those plays were.”
Tellinghuisen averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds in the three Summit League tournament games last year. But it was all that “other stuff” that helped the Jacks win all three games.
“I think that gives our team a bunch of energy,” says Tellinghuisen. “When we’re getting charges and blocking shots and that allows us to run in transition. Obviously, our team is doing a great job scoring the basketball right now. That starts on the defensive end with our guards pressuring their guards and forcing them to take bad shots and then getting rebounds and pushing it offensively.”
The Jacks are rolling offensively this season and Telly is rolling right along with them. He has made 53 three pointers so far and 245 in his career. He needs to make 8 more to pass Clint Sargent for the SDSU career record. And he says he doesn’t really want to think about it.
“I honestly don’t know what it is and don’t know where I’m at right now. So just going to keep doing my thing and if I hit it I hit it and if I don’t it is whatever.”
“We all know Reed is a really really good shooter,” says Otzelberger. “But when you talk about breaking a record like that or the chance to it is because he is really consistent. He stays in the gym getting shots and it’s because he has been a great teammate and unselfish and those opportunities come back his way. Not because he has necessarily been intentional in hunting those attempts but he lets the game come to him.”
Tellinghuisen shot 42% on three-pointers as a freshman. He shot 38% as a sophomore and dropped to 33% last year even though he made 74 threes, second most on the team. He is back up to 42% this season.
“Definitely last year I think I was more sped up,” he says. “I took bad shots, honestly, and shots that were forced that I didn’t need to take. I think this year just I’m having a calming influence and taking the right shots and doing things so our team is successful. It starts with me. If I’m forcing bad shots other people are going to start forcing bad shots. So just taking the right ones I think that just calms everybody else.”
And that includes his close friend and classmate, Mike Daum. They came to Brookings the same year. Daum red-shirted but Tellinghuisen did not.
“He is going to be lost,” Tellinghuisen says with a big smile. “I kind of keep him under control. I don’t know what he’s going to do when I’m gone because he gets out of control some times and I’ve got to calm him down.”
In the meantime, Tellinghuisen will finish up his college playing days, set a couple of new school records and keep on doing all those things to help the Jacks keep on winning. And Otzelberger is going to miss his senior leader.
“The individual things,” says the coach, “I know don’t mean as much to him as the team awards and the team accomplishments. That’s why it is so neat to see those teams come full circle for him because his starts and threes are not what he is setting out to do. He is setting out to playing Jackrabbit basketball for the name on the front of his jersey and leaving his heart and soul on the floor. Those are some things that are coming his way as a result of that effort.”