As Greater Johnstown High School’s first all-state basketball player, Paul Schmidt had built an impressive resume on the court.

Schmidt didn’t stop there.

The 6-foot-5 forward had a solid career in the Atlantic Coast Conference with perennial power Duke University.

“Playing at Johnstown helped establish a foundation for me,” said Schmidt, who will be among eight inductees into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame during Saturday’s banquet at the Pasquerilla Conference Center.

Schmidt set scoring records playing on two of the best teams in Johnstown High history while becoming the Trojans’ first Associated Press All-State hoops player.

Schmidt continued to shine at Duke, where he had 559 career points (8.3 a game) and 409 career rebounds (6.1 a game) from 1956 to 1958. He was a second-team All-ACC selection in 1958, the same year he won the Blue Devils’ Swett Memorial Trophy as Duke’s Most Valuable Player.

“Playing for a big college like Duke was a very good experience for me,” Schmidt said. “My experience at Johnstown prepared me pretty well. We used a double post down there as well as in high school.

“We wound up being in sixth place in the nation my senior year,” Schmidt said. “We finished in first place in the ACC during the regular season.”

Schmidt grabbed 24 rebounds in a Feb. 1958 game against Wake Forest, a total that still ranks third all-time in Duke’s single-game record book. He led the Blue Devils with a .523 field goal percentage as a senior.

“(Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame member and Duke alumnus) Charlie Kunkle came to visit me halfway through my senior season at Johnstown and said Duke was interested in me but they wouldn’t contact me until the end of the high school season,” Schmidt said. “When I went down to visit Duke I was very impressed with the campus.”

Among his highlights at Duke, Schmidt played against West Virginia’s Jerry West, a future NBA great.

At Johnstown, Schmidt was part of the 27-2 team as a junior in 1952-53 and was the leader on the 26-1 team as a senior.

The Trojans won District 6 both of those years and advanced to the Western Final in 1953 and the Western Semifinal in ’54.

“We just worked together on both of those teams,” Schmidt said. “My junior year there was Dave Niel, Jerry Lashley, Carl Sax, Ron Rainey, Jack Keelan and Lou Robson. We worked together. My senior year there was no one person that would stand out. If one person wasn’t hitting, another person would open up.”

As a senior, Schmidt set Greater Johnstown’s single-season scoring record with 421 points, though it has since been broken.

“I’m flabbergasted. It’s really an honor to be considered for the hall of fame,” Schmidt said. “Being a skinny kid running the streets of Kernville and really not playing organized ball until the 10th grade, to be considered for the Cambria County Hall of Fame is very special.”

Schmidt and his wife, Corrine, reside in Walnut Grove. He retired from Bethlehem Steel in 1992 after 27 years in the industry.

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