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Meet the Warriors: Douglas Kurtz

Every team could use a player like Douglas Kurtz.

And not just because he’s 7 feet tall and a solid 265 pounds.

In an era of play-me-or-I’ll-quit players, Kurtz has accepted his role as a reserve center for the Hawaii basketball team. It’s not a role he enjoys, but one he understands.

“I keep practicing, man,” said Kurtz, a senior who is in his second season with the program. “I also have a long-term goal. I still want to play basketball, so I just get myself ready. When ever the team needs me, I’ll be ready to help the team.”

During practices, Kurtz often serves as an energetic leader of the “second group,” especially because he is often teamed with the younger players, including freshmen reserves Bo Barnes, Bobby Miles and Trevor Wiseman.

“I’m still playing hard in practice,” Kurtz said. “It’s just not as easy when you’re not getting as much playing time, but you can’t let it affect you. Confidence is one thing you can also build up in practice, so I just play hard in practice.”

Kurtz is averaging 2.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in his limited minutes this season. He also plays an important “enforcer” role, often going in to push around the opponent’s big men.

Despite his diminished role, Kurtz is often the last player to leave the court after practices. He’ll usually stay to work on his post moves, or just to shoot free throws.

“I want to play (professional) basketball in the future, so I have to keep working,” he said.

Kurtz is originally from Brazil, and is a former member of the Brazilian junior national program. His progress off the court has been impressive.

Kurtz could not speak any English when he enrolled at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa in 2007. Brazilian coaches – including current Hawaii associate coach Walter Roese – helped place him there in an effort to land him a NCAA scholarship.

“I had to study in the classroom a lot,” Kurtz said. “It was tough.”

It paid off when Hawaii – and then-head coach Bob Nash – signed him in 2009. Kurtz played an even more limited role with the Warriors last season as a junior.

“Last year was really hard,” he said. “But I worked hard in the summer to get ready for this year.”

He also worked hard in the classroom. He is on pace to graduate this summer with a degree in sociology. It is an accomplishment that is making his parents proud.

“They’re pretty happy with it because to get an opportunity to come to a country like the United States and get a chance to play basketball and get a free degree in college, it’s a pretty good accomplishment,” he said.

Making it more impressive, Kurtz is a relative newcomer to basketball. He started playing the sport in high school, and only because his older brother, Diego, was on the team.

“My brother was always athletic … when he started to play basketball in high school, I was getting taller, so I talked to his coach and he said if I wanted to try it, so I tried,” he said.

Now, Kurtz realizes his time in Hawaii is winding down, so he wants to take advantage of it once the season is over.

“We don’t get too much free time, so I don’t see the beach too much,” he said. “There’s some things I want to do before I leave Hawaii, and one is surfing.”

Photos by Brandon Flores/www.brandonfloresphotography.com

1 Comment

  1. Ah, the last of the horrible Nash recruits. I don’t know where Kurtz will play professionally (if he does at all), but I guess some team always needs some big dumb clumsy moron to suit up.

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