The Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) two-sport star, who threw his last pass at the U.S. Army Bowl more than a month ago, saw his high school basketball career come to an end with a 61-59 loss to Bishop Ludden (N.Y.) this past week.
Paulus finished the game with 30 points, but missed a desperation 3-pointer as time expired.
``The year was fun – and that game was so much fun," Paulus said. "It's sort of like a mini Duke-North Carolina rivalry. The fans get to the gym really early and fill it up."
``Having that as my last game was tough," he added. "We were up and down all year. I didn't want to go out that way, losing in the first round to our rivals."
Paulus finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 8.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game. He ended his career with 2,399 points, which ranks 11th in state history.
This season was interesting because Paulus had to make a pair of transitions. After he led his team to a state title in football, he had about 24 hours before he was at basketball practice. Then, because of his participation in the U.S. Army Football Game, he had to once again make the switch back to basketball during the season.
``This was the most interesting season of my career," Paulus said. "I had to go to Texas just when I was getting back into basketball shape. It was frustrating, but it was a great experience to play in the football game."
Despite struggling on the field in the all-star game, Paulus still came out of it with nothing put positives.
``It was a lot of fun," Paulus said. "People don't realize all the behind-the-scenes activities and events with that game. Being able to meet the men and women in the Army and hear some of the speeches was a lot of fun."
``The game didn't go the way I wanted," he added. "It was tough because I hadn't picked up a football before that in a couple months. I didn't play well in the game, but I really didn't care because it was so much fun all week."
Paulus admitted it was difficult to spend the entire week with guys that were going on to play college football next season.
``But I have no regrets," he said. "I have the opportunity to play basketball at Duke and that's what I want to do."
As for Duke's chances to claim to the national title this season, Paulus remains optimistic.
``I think they have a chance," he said. "Usually, the team that wins the national championship has two or three main guys and then some supporting guys. I'm hoping they get to the Final Four – they have (J.J.) Redick, (Daniel) Ewing and Shelden (Williams) and they just need the supporting cast to pick it up."