Bear Necessities: Basha Freshman Schumaker Impressing

(All photos courtesy the Schumaker Family)

It wasn’t one of Landon Schumaker’s best Basha games. A handful of turnovers, mixed with some missed shots and pointed in-game “coaching” from Mike Grothaus.

But when it mattered, the 6-foot-6 freshman made it count.

Schumaker calmly sank two free throws in the final minute which proved to be the difference in a recent last-second thriller over Mesa High.

For those close to the Bears’ program it was another example of the ultra-skilled Schumaker developing his game on-the-fly at the highest level of Arizona high school basketball.

“I had heard about him,” head coach Grothaus said to Sports360AZ.com recalling his first memories of Schumaker. “To see him play and to watch him grow in this short amount of time, it’s been special.”

While the learning curve has, at times, been steep – Schumaker leads Basha in rebounding and is second in scoring. 

“There have been games when I’ve tried to [catch up] to the speed of it,” Schumaker explained with a shrug. “But overall I think I’m doing pretty well.”

Schumaker, who comes from a close family in the southeast Valley, has been playing the game he loves longer than he can remember…with a little help from older brother, Zach. 

“Ever since I was like two, on those Fisher-Price hoops,” he said harkening back. “[Zach] put a ball in my hand ever since I was little, crawling around. He’s been with me every step of the way through my basketball career.”

While Schumaker’s basketball career is still in its early stages, few will ever have the experience of playing summer ball with Bronny James under the watchful eye of “The King” himself as a member of the North Coast Blue Chips.

“I’m very blessed to be a part of that,” he said. “LeBron…first time I saw him I was amazed. Blown away. He treated me like a normal person. I’ve texted with him. He’s given me advice before this season.”

Not too bad for a barely 15 year-old.

“He’s got great size, great hands, great feet,” Grothaus said. “He comes in every single day with a positive attitude. He wants to be great.”

Sounds a lot like that James’ guy he’s been texting with.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.