Hunter Schmidt making ‘big’ impact for Jeannette boys basketball

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Monday, February 1, 2021 | 3:07 PM


When Hunter Schmidt walks into a room, people take notice.

Sometimes he has to duck to get through a doorway. But he doesn’t mind because life is good for the 6-foot-9, 290-pound Jeannette Jayhawk.

Schmidt has a happy-go-lucky demeanor — even though he could step on most point guards with his size 17 high top.

“People like me and they want to meet me,” said Schmidt, a senior center. “It’s easy to make friends. I could be walking down the street and right away it’s, ‘Hey, do you play basketball?’”

That he does. And he’s been doing it well of late, helping Jeannette win three straight games and move into a tie for first place in WPIAL Section 3-2A with rival Greensburg Central Catholic, the team the Jayhawks play Friday night on the road.

GCC is ranked No. 4 and Jeannette is No. 5.

First, though, Jeannette has a tough section game Tuesday night at Serra Catholic (1-7) and hosts Mt. Pleasant (2-6) Thursday in nonsection play.

Not many teams can say they have a player with Schmidt’s size — even if they fudge roster specs. He is a walking, talking, blocking example of “you can’t teach size.”

He is a lumbering force at times, especially for teams that allow him to get position in the paint.

Schmidt can be a difference maker as a rebounder and shot-blocker, and Jeannette’s quick guards can look to him when he has his back to the basket.

“Hunter is gaining more confidence in himself, and that is important,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “He has a bright future. Colleges are going to take a look at him. He’s been working hard and started getting in shape. His running is getting easier.”

Schmidt is averaging 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

“I know I should dominate, and that’s what I want to do,” he said.

He had 18 points and 13 rebounds Saturday in a 60-33 win over Greensburg Salem. He went for 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks when Jeannette dumped Propel Braddock Hills, 66-46.

Neither team could stop him.

The gentle giant has size in his family. His late father was 6-8. His brother, Anthony, is 6-5 and played at Thiel after patrolling the post at Jeannette five years ago.

“I learned from him,” Hunter said. “He really worked with me on my game.”

Jeannette is hoping to get some key players back from injuries and other reasons as the regular season turns toward the postseason.

A healthy lineup and recharged bench, complemented by Schmidt, could make the Jayhawks a tough out.

“Hopefully by playoff time, he will be in tip-top shape,” Batts said. “We know we’ll need him.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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