Hampton’s Other Luther

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By Steve Brodzinski – Pittsburgh Basketball Report

At Hampton High School the Luther name is pretty well known. Actually, I would say it is pretty well known throughout the WPIAL. Twin brothers Ryan and Collin Luther have been the talk of the league for the past three years. Ryan has garnered most of the attention; a 6’8” forward that has signed to play college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh. This has caused his 6’5” twin brother Collin to often times play second fiddle. While Collin may not be the opening act at Hampton, he would be the featured performer at 99% of other high school programs. While there may be a bit of a shadow cast by brother Ryan, it is nothing compared to the cloud of expectation that comes with the Luther name.  

To put it simply, Collin comes from what some people would refer to as a “basketball family.” “Ryan and I are the youngest of five in our family. My oldest sister Jodie graduated from Hampton in ’08, scored 1,000 points, won a WPIAL Championship, and went on to play at Rochester where she was a D3 first team All-American her final season,” said Collin. “My other sister Molly also played for and graduated from Hampton in ’12 and was a starter for 3 years. My oldest brother Bill graduated from Hampton in ’10, won a WPIAL Championship, was selected to the Fab 5, and he is currently in his senior season at Pitt-Johnstown.” Add in the fact that his mom’s four brothers all played basketball at Hampton, including Brian Shanahan who was a 1,000 point scorer at Duquesne, and there is definitely some pressure to be successful on the hardwood in this family. Yet, this basketball lineage is part of Collin’s success on the court today. “It definitely has benefited me as a player. Growing up, I was always in a gym whether it was tagging along with my parents to my older siblings games and AAU tournaments, or my brothers and I going to work out with my uncle,” said Luther. “I feel it has helped me in my understanding of the game immensely.”

Collin’s understanding of the game has contributed to Hampton’s team success, as they reached the Class AAAA WPIAL Championship game last season. “Coach Lafko always reminds us that our expectations for every new season never change,” said Collin. “Coming into the season we knew we had some talent and if we played the way we were capable of playing, there would be the possibility of winning our section, a WPIAL championship, and a state championship.” This would be no easy task, as Hampton is in the most difficult section in all of the WPIAL, which includes North Allegheny, New Castle, Seneca Valley, Pine Richland, and others.  As expected the path would not be easy for Hampton. “We came into our senior season highly ranked knowing that it meant we would get everyone’s best shot, and that we would have to come ready to play every night.” said Collin.  “We had a goal to win the section championship, but we had some set backs against some good teams, and unfortunately we are in a battle for second place. We are looking to finish the season strong and remain focused for what we hope is a long run into the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs.”

While Collin’s focus is on his team’s success, there has to be part of his mind that is still wondering where he will be attending college next year. His recruiting is still very wide open, as Collin has offers from Division 2 schools Pitt-Johnstown and West Virginia Wesleyan among others, and is hearing from a number of NCAA Division 1 schools including Albany, Colgate, Columbia, Fairfield, Mercer, Elon, and Umass-Lowell. Collin had some scholarship offers from Duquesne and George Washington earlier in the year, but those scholarships were pulled when his brother committed to Pitt, as they were considered “package deals” with Ryan.

The Division 1 attention is well deserved, and should continue to increase nearing the spring signing period. Collin’s well-rounded game and efficiency are evident in a stat line that reads: 13ppg, 6rpg, 4apg, and 2spg, while shooting 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 84% from the line. What may actually hurt his recruiting is the proximity to a high major Division 1 recruit, in brother Ryan. “People want to compare us when we are completely different players who bring different skills and playing styles to the table,” said Collin. “Ryan is more of an inside player then me. He uses his length well to attack and finish above the rim and create mismatches. I play more of the point forward role. I’m more comfortable handling ball and setting up teammates.”

At 6’5” Collin definitely shows the “point forward” versatility – he can guard almost every position on the court, he gives you physicality and aggressiveness, while also giving you composure and control. He has the ability to create his own shot, get his teammates involved, and beat you both inside and outside. “College coaches say they see me as a 2, 3, or 4 who can handle the ball and guard several positions,” said Collin. “My favorite player is Lebron. I love the way he is a big player who can play point guard, loves getting his teammates involved, and is extremely unselfish.  I always like the way Luke Hancock for Louisville plays, and how versatile he is.”  

Collin’s versatility will be in high demand this week, as Hampton prepares for a second match up  with Class AAAA #1 New Castle. Ryan Luther missed the first meeting with an ankle injury. “Being at full strength will help us match up much better I think. It gives us more scoring and options offensively and the ability to protect the rim better.” Said Collin. “Regardless we are going to have to play a great game to beat them. They are very well coached and they play together. I’m really looking forward to Friday, it should be fun.” Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Hampton should go far in the Class AAAA playoffs, and it could be Collin’s time to finally step out from the shadow and into the spotlight.