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Holy Smoldt! Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Joe Smoldt named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball

March 26, 2017
Ross Thede - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

The numbers speak for themselves. His commitment to his team speaks volumes. His love for the game is deafening.

His numbers etched into the state's record books, Joe Smoldt's name is now synonymous with basketball.

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior has been named as Iowa's 2017 Mr. Basketball, as voted by the Iowa Newspaper Association in its annual awards meeting. Smoldt will graduate as the state's seventh all-time leading scorer with 2,358 points, averaging 21.4 points per game over a career in which time he led the Rebels to a 100-10 record, three-straight Class 1A state tournament appearances, an undefeated state title in 2015, and four-straight NICL West Division championships.

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Joe Smoldt
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Smoldt will play basketball at Upper Iowa University, an NCAA Division II program in Fayette, next year. But for now, he's the first small-school Mr. Basketball since Jess Settles of Winfield-Mt. Union won the award in 1993.

"I think it's just representative of what I've done for the sport and what the sport has done for me," said Smoldt, a 6-foot-1 point guard. "I don't think this happens without all of the success we're having at Gladbrook-Reinbeck. To be down at state three years in a row is something that goes a long way toward winning this award, and you don't get to state without your teammates and your coaches."

Smoldt was voted captain of the Class 1A state all-tournament team all three times the Rebels reached Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Gladbrook-Reinbeck capped a perfect 28-0 season in 2015 with its first state title, followed by a fourth-place finish last winter and this year's runner-up showing. Smoldt led the team in scoring from his sophomore year on, including one of the most prolific seasons in state history this winter.

He averaged 29.8 points per game - second across all classes - and led Iowa high school basketball in total points (865), field goals and attempts (281-for-545), free throws and attempts (194-for-228), and 3-pointers made (109). His 109 3-pointers ranks seventh all-time in state history, and his 865 points places him ninth in the single-season annals.

Smoldt was named the North Iowa Cedar League West Division's Outstanding Player for the third year in a row as Gladbrook-Reinbeck claimed its third-straight perfect conference crown and fifth-straight league title overall.

He was a second-team all-NICL West selection as a 5-foot-10 freshman, and a unanimous first-team all-conference pick the rest of the way. The three-time first-team INA all-state selection recognized that Jordan Bohannon of Linn-Mar, now the starting point guard at the University of Iowa, was last year's Mr. Basketball, but beyond that the award was kind of a mystery to him.

Smoldt joins the likes of Peter Jok (West Des Moines Valley), Marcus Paige (Linn-Mar), Jarrod Uthoff (Cedar Rapids Jefferson), Harrison Barnes (Ames), Matt Gatens (Iowa City High), Jeff Horner (Mason City), Kirk Hinrich (Sioux City West) and Nick Collison (Iowa Falls) as recipients of the award. Fred Hoiberg of Ames claimed the honor in 1991, and the state's all-time leading scorer Brooks McKowen (Wapsie Valley) - now the head coach at Upper Iowa - held the title in 2003.

"It's a really nice topper to everything I've accomplished in high school," Smoldt said. "A state championship would have been the better thing to end it, but we fell a little short of that.

"I think this is just a statement of all the hard work I put in. Even if you're from a 1A school, if you work hard, this is just another driving force. Having the title of Mr. Basketball shows what hard work can do for you, and it tells me to keep working hard too."

In addition to his place on Iowa's all-time scoring chart, Smoldt ranks seventh in state history with 302 career 3-pointers. He's tied for 16th in assists (528) and 23rd in steals (280).

Nearly every Gladbrook-Reinbeck school record belongs to him now, too, in addition to the most coveted boys' basketball award in the state.

AGWSR senior Nathan Karsjens was named to the second-team, all-state selection in Class 1A. Karsjens was runner-up to Smoldt in the NICL West in teams of points per game (18.0) and totals points (359) in the conference.

The 6-foot-7 Cougar led his team in field goal percentage (48.8) as well as rebounds (154) and blocks (29).

Karsjens is going on to play Division II at Western Illinois in the fall.

In Class 2A, East Marshall junior Zane Johnson was listed to the third-team, all-state selection. Johnson was fourth in the NICL West in scoring, posting 336 points (one behind third-place Caden Kickbush) and averaged a NICL West third-best points per game with 14.6.

Johnson was second for the Mustangs in field goal percentage (53.4) and had the most rebounds (152) as well as the second-most blocks (15).

Johnson will come back to an East Marshall team that returns four of its starting five in 2017-18.



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