- Marc Pendleton Staff Writer
The ultimate work in progress, Spire Academy basketball teammates don’t have anything on Rob Bobroczky when it comes to communicating.
The 7-foot-7 might be lacking in hoop prowess, but he’s fluent in English, Italian and his native Romanian. Good thing, because his unlimited upside could be destined for anywhere in the world.
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“I know I’ve made improvement,” said Bobroczky after not playing in Spire’s 80-70 comeback defeat of host Fairmont in Friday’s 16th annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop opener at Trent Arena. “I definitely feel like I’m getting there slowly.”
Despite having played just a handful of minutes in the last two years since coming to the United States, Bobroczky is already an internet sensation. That’s what standing 7-7 will do for you. The interest is high and soaring about this intriguing but robotic player. Awaiting coach Justin Clark after the game was a Washington Post reporter.
“He’s recently been suiting up a lot more,” Clark said. “Last year was his first in America and he didn’t play a lot of games. This year, he’s starting to get more involved. He can do a lot for us. He has range and he can block shots. He’s getting really excited to get on the floor.”
Bobroczky said he left Romania and his family when he was 14. He last visited home in the summer of 2016.
Spire administration found Rob on Facebook and initiated contact. Spire is an officially certified U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training facility. A video of Rob overwhelming his Romanian competition two years ago was an immediate world-wide hit, generating more than 3-million views.
“Even outside of being young, he’s a good kid with a good attitude,” said teammate Caleb McDonnell, a former Dunbar standout who transferred to Spire along with former Dunbar teammate Devon Baker after last season. “He’s always smiling, laughing and joking. If he keeps working and staying in the gym, he’ll be alright.”
Bobroczky is considered the tallest basketball player in the world and is taller than any current NBA player. He’s also just a sophomore in high school and hasn’t hit 200 pounds in weight yet.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “My teammates are great guys. They’re talented and we have a good time every time.”
16th ANNUAL PREMIER HEALTH FLYIN’ TO THE HOOP
Where: Trent Arena, Fairmont High School, Kettering
Spire Academy (Ohio) 80, Fairmont 70
Findlay Prep (Nev.) 50, Huntington Prep (W.Va.) 48
Springboro vs. Tippecanoe girls, 11:30 a.m.
Olentangy Liberty vs. Xenia, 1:15 p.m.
Hilliard Bradley vs. Spire Academy (Ohio), 3 p.m.
Pickerington North vs. Princeton, 4:45 p.m.
McEachern (Ga.) vs. Trotwood-Madison, 6:30 p.m.
IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Prolific Prep (Calif.), 8:15 p.m.
Mountain Mission (Va.) vs. Miamisburg, 11:30 a.m.
Sidney vs. Versailles, 1:15 p.m.
Fairland vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 3 p.m.
Covington Catholic (Ky.) vs. Middletown, 4:45 p.m.
Prolific Prep (Calif.) vs. Garfield Heights, 6:30 p.m.
Cleveland Heights vs. Springfield, 8:15 p.m.
Franklin Monroe vs. Minster, 11:30 a.m.
Fort Loramie vs. Thurgood Marshall, 1:15 p.m.
Pickerington Central vs. McEachern (Ga.), 3 p.m.
Lyndhurst Brush vs. Cin. Hughes, 4:45 p.m.
La Lumiere (Ind.) vs. Aspire Academy (Ky.), 6:30 p.m
Upper Arlington vs. Wayne, 8:15 p.m.