Hayfield senior set to play for Wartburg College

Published 2:06 am Saturday, May 8, 2010

HAYFIELD – A Hayfield senior is ready to experience college basketball firsthand.

Tanner Kramer, who is Hayfield’s third all-time leading scorer since 1962, has made a verbal commitment to play for Wartburg College next season.

Kramer, who will receive some academic scholarships, has always wanted to play college hoops, especially after watching his older brothers play at that level. Tony Kramer played at University of Minnesota Duluth and Tyler Kramer played at Gustavus and now

“I watched my brothers play and I watched David Johnson (Hayfield’s all-time leading scorer) play and I always wanted to play at the next level,” Kramer said. “The atmosphere of college basketball is just insane and it’s an accomplishment to finally get on a team.”

Those brothers will now share a little bit of their knowledge with their younger brother as Kramer will train with them for a few weeks in the Twin Cities this summer.

“They’ll get me in the shape,” Kramer said. “Maybe I’ll beat them, but they can probably beat me. We’ll see what happens.”

For now, Kramer, who averaged 16.8 points and 3.9 assists his senior year, will focus on two things – basketball and weight lifting. The Knights have already put Kramer on a strength-building program and he hopes to bulk up, so he can make some big contributions on the court.

“(College basketball) will probably take awhile to get used to it,” Kramer said. “But I think in the next few years, I’ll fit in pretty well. I just need to get bigger and I’ll be fine.”

Kramer chose Wartburg, which was 15-12 overall last year, from a list of about eight schools.

He visited the campus in Waverly, Iowa and watched the team practice for about a half an hour. One of Kramer’s biggest factors in making his choice was Wartburg head coach Dick Peth, who has a 220-127 record with the Knights and was the captain of a University of Iowa team that won the Big Ten Title.

“Coach Peth is a great guy,” Kramer said. “He’s got the same philosophy as (Hayfield head coach) Chris Pack. I liked it a lot and it just felt right for me to go there.”

Kramer also made sure to check with 2008 Hayfield grad Leslie Wilson, who has played for the women’s basketball team for the past two years in Wartburg.

“She said it’s a great school and their basketball program’s pretty good,” Kramer said. “They also built a nice athletic facility in the last four years.”

Wartburg, a Division III school with an enrollment of 1,800, plays in the Iowa Conference and its biggest rival is Luther College, where 2009 Blooming Prairie grad Matt Zellmer is playing basketball.