Maryknoll’s Tall Gift From Germany

Tobias Schramm at Maryknoll School. Nathalie Walker photo

Extremely tall high school basketball players are as rare in the Islands as snowmen.

So when 6-foot-8-inch German exchange student Tobias Schramm first walked onto the Maryknoll campus a year ago, he was quite the sensation.

“When he first came on campus, he was like a pop star. Everybody was clinging to him and wanted to take a picture with him,” says Maryknoll head boys basketball coach Kelly Grant. “He’s a very humble boy, but I’m sure he liked it.”

“Everybody was super friendly,” Schramm recalls. “The people here are so nice.”

Schramm, who grew up in northern Germany in a small town about an hour north of Hamburg, once scored 53 points in a club league game in his native land. During his sophomore year, he says he started looking at the U.S. as an option for his basketball and his education. He signed up for an exchange program that eventually brought him to Oahu.

“Originally, I wanted to go to Colorado to experience skiing or something like that, but the exchange program matched me up with Maryknoll,” he says.

Schramm lives with a host family in Kailua and has started to use Kailua Beach as one of his training grounds.

“He’s gotten a lot stronger since last year,” says Coach Grant. “He’s got soft hands, a good shooting touch and good skills. Plus, he’s taking a leadership role now as a senior. I like what I see.”

Schramm’s high point game a year ago as a junior was a 21-point effort against Farrington. Based on his development, that point barrier ought to be shattered several times this year.

“He’s worked one-on-one with various coaches, and he’s more athletic. We’re learning to pass the ball to him better,” says his coach.

“Last year, I didn’t think I lived up to my expectations,” Schramm says. “It was a new style for me and I had to adapt to it. I have some really good teammates, and our goal is to make it to States this year.”

Schramm says he went back to Germany over the summer and worked on his weak spots, including defense and “stretching the court,” he says. “I’m not always going to be playing underneath the basket, so I’ve got to be able to take the ball outside.”

His coach says he’s extended his shooting touch out to the three-point line, which will make this big man even more dangerous.

“I can see him playing (collegiately) at the D-I level, maybe a low major. I know all the D-II schools are aware of him,” Coach Grant says.

“That’s my goal, to play Division I. That’s one of the reasons I came to America, to strengthen my chances of playing ball at D-I and going to school,” Schramm says.

He is a good student, almost all A’s and B’s, so he’s doing well academically at Maryknoll. Speaking with him, he has an excellent command of the English language.

“I started learning it in the fifth grade,” he says. “Then, in the eighth grade, I got a basketball coach from America, and I started talking with him a lot, and that really helped my learning.”

Remember the name, Tobias Schramm – one big reason that basketball prospects are looking up, way up, at Maryknoll school this season.