Schumacher scored a season-high 18 points in a 69-66 win against New Mexico State on Thursday at Climate Pledge Arena.
Schumacher leads the team in assists (3.0 per game) and steals (14 total) and is second in scoring (11.6 points per game) while playing good perimeter defense. But Seattle U coach Chris Victor said Schumacher has meant more to the team than the numbers.
“He’s just such a great kid and competitor; he’s a great person and he has fit in well,” Victor said. “The way the season has gone, we have asked so much of him, (Fellow point guard) Paris Dawson has been out — he has been injured for most of the year — and a lot of the responsibilities have fallen on his shoulders.
“He has just gotten better game by game, week by week. He is playing the best basketball he has played all year right now, which is a big reason why we are 3-0 in conference.”
Schumacher drew interest from Division I teams — including Seattle University — while starring at Skyview and becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer.
But in the end, Schumacher only had offers from Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s.
“I kind of shot myself in the foot a little bit with academics,” Schumacher said, saying “absolutely” that was why he didn’t have more offers.
At Saint Martin’s, Schumacher not only starred on the court, he put a much greater emphasis on academics.
“It was just more focusing on things I needed to do in terms of building more relationships with my professors,” he said. “Seattle U is bigger, but I’m still carrying those tools with me.”
Schumacher averaged 14.2 points in three years at Saint Martin’s and was second-team All-Great Northwestern Athletic Conference last season after averaging 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
All along, he felt he was good enough to play at the Division I level.
“It was a little humbling going to Saint Martin’s knowing that I was talking to a lot of Division I schools,” said Schumacher, who is the nephew of JJ Birden, who played nine seasons as a receiver in the NFL.
That said, Schumacher said he enjoyed his three years at Saint Martin’s. But he said it was “kind of a now or never situation” if he was going to transfer because he wanted to have more than one year of eligibility remaining.
So Schumacher went into the transfer portal, Pribble helped recruit Schumacher — again.
“He’s a dynamic player and he makes his teammates better,” Pribble said. “He lives in the paint, he’s very skilled and he’s a good shooter. He’s a three-level scorer. He checks all the boxes as a big, talented guard.
“But just as important is the energy he brings off the court. He’s one of those guys who is really fun to be around. He’s friends with everybody in our program and he just has a great energy about him. And those are the types of players you like to have in your program — whether it’s at Saint Martin’s or here in Seattle — players that you trust on and off the court.”
Seattle U is on a roll. A Christmas morning 85-67 win over George Washington in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu gave the Redhawks a big boost heading into WAC play.
That win came after Seattle U had lost the first two games of the tournament to two tough opponents — Utah State and Iona.
Now, after road wins last week at Texas Rio Grande Valley and UT Arlington, confidence is high.
Helped by Schumacher, Seattle U has thrived early in WAC play. Schumacher said he is loving playing for the Redhawks, and said he is learning a lot from team leaders Cameron Tyson and Riley Grigsby.
Perhaps the only thing Schumacher has been unhappy about is his shooting. He is shooting 35.4% from the field and 19.1% (13 of 68) from three-point range. That’s not acceptable to Schumacher, who shot 48.3% (43 of 89) from three-point range last season at Saint Martin’s.
“We’re still trying to figure out the jump shot and getting a better tempo,” Schumacher said. “We’re getting a better grasp on it.”
Just another challenge. One that Schumacher is confident he can conquer.