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T-R PLAYER OF THE DECADE: JOE SMOLDT Ross Thede T-R Sports Editor rthede@timesrepublican.com
May 14, 2020

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As the spotlight grew around Joe Smoldt, so did his legendary career at Gladbrook-Reinbeck. Smoldt became the first small-school player to receive Iowa's Mr. Basketball award in 2017 since Jess Settles achieved the feat for Winfield-Mount Union in 1993. It's an honor that capped a remarkable career for the 6-foot-1 guard who was, let's be honest, an easy choice for the T-R's Player of the Decade honor in boys basketball. Smoldt was an elite-level scorer who manufactured his own shot time after time, regardless of opposing strategies and defensive specialists assigned to slow him down. Gladbrook-Reinbeck went 100-10 during Smoldt's career, in which he was named the Outstanding Player of the North Iowa Cedar League's West Division three times, first-team all-state three times, and finally becoming the first player ever to be named captain of the state's all-tournament team three times. He averaged 24.5 points per game at Wells Fargo Arena, helping the Rebels place first, fourth and second in consecutive seasons. The 2014-15 team went a perfect 28-0, when a then-sophomore Smoldt broke into the spotlight. Few players have ever shined brighter.

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