Posted On: 12/17/16 10:00 AM

Class of 2018 combo forward Matt Leritz of SLUH has emerged into quite the double-double performer for the Jr. Billikens early in the season.

The 6’6″ Leritz has a versatile skill set that has enabled him to be quite productive as a scorer and a rebounder. He has the ability to score in the post, but he can also step out and knock down 3-pointers with his excellent perimeter shooting range.

“Being 6’6″, I usually draw the bigger guy on defense, so I’m able to take them outside and make the 3-pointers,” Leritz said. “I can also take them off the dribble and it gives our team a big advantage.”

The play of Leritz has been a big part of SLUH’s 5-2 start. Through those seven games, Leritz is averaging 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. His play has been even more important as SLUH has been without 6’7″ senior Brett Smith, who has been out with an injury and fellow 6’7″ senior B.J. Wilson missed a few games with an ankle injury.

Leritz has also come up with a number of excellent individual performances, especially in last week’s Blue Springs Tournament, which the Jr. Billikens came home with the championship. Leritz had 26 points and 10 rebounds in SLUH’s first-round win over Lincoln Prep and 15 points and 10 rebounds in the semifinals against Blue Springs. He also added a season-high 14 rebounds in SLUH’s loss at Chaminade in its Metro Catholic Conference opener.

Leritz spent the past summer playing with the St. Louis Prospects 16U for coach Carlos Smith. He enjoyed a productive summer against some good competition from around the country.

“Playing this summer has helped me in almost every way,” Leritz said. “Carlos is a great coach. He really built up my confidence. I played against some great competition and it helped polish my game and make me better.”

The goal for Leritz this season is to help lead SLUH to a third consecutive trip to the Final Four of the Class 5 state tournament. The Jr. Billikens finished fourth in 2015 and third in 2016.

“We want to get back to state,” Lertiz said. “We have eight returning seniors who have experienced the Final Four, so we have big goals.”