Paul Baumgart is Potent Force in Paint for Chief Cagers
The junior center combines athleticism, skills and height.
Paul Baumgart is 6-foot-7, an ideal height for a basketball player.
But those who've watched Baumgart perform on a regular basis for Canton's hoop team know the angular athlete would excel on the hardwood even if he was 5-7.
Baumgart, who is the Chiefs' Mr. Inside to Dietrich Lever's Mr. Outside, has a soft outside jump shot and he can handle the ball like a guard.
It's in the paint that the junior does the most damage, providing a last line of defense against the Chiefs' skyscraper opponents while serving as one of Lever's most-dangerous passing targets on the offensive end of the court.
During the Chiefs' narrow loss to state power Detroit Martin Luther King High School, Baumgart thrilled the local fans with a monster alley-oop dunk.
Following is a brief question-and-answer session between Baumgart and Patch.com contributor Ed Wright.
EW: When did you start playing basketball?
PB: I started playing PCJBA when I was about 6 years old, then when I got older I played AAU.
EW: What about the sport appeals to you?
PB: Everything. I love it. I do something with a basketball every day, either shooting or dribbling. I never get tired of it.
EW: What's the best part of your game?
PB: Probably my low-post moves. My turn-around shot has gotten better and my driving ability has improved since the summer.
EW: How many shots would you estimate you take a day?
PB: Right around 200.
EW: What's been the highlight of your high school career so far?
PB: I played pretty well during our seven-game winning streak last season.
EW: Do you remember your first dunk in a competitive game?
PB: It came when I was in eighth grade playing AAU for the Plymouth-Canton Wolfpack. We were beating a team pretty good and my coach told me they wanted to get me a dunk. We got a break-away, they got me the ball and I dunked it. It felt pretty good.
EW: What's it like playing with Dietrich Lever?
PB: It's awesome. One of the best things about Dietrich is he hardly ever turns the ball over. It took me a little while to get used to playing with him because he'll drive and then dish the ball off to me without looking, so you always have to be ready. I think we work well together, especially on the pick-and-roll.
EW: What colleges are showing interest in you?
PB: There are some MAC schools, University of Detroit and Columbia (N.Y.) a little bit.
Favorite classes: Math and volleyball
Favorite NBA players: Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett
Favorite TV show: ESPN Sportscenter
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite teacher: Miss Tortora