This year there are five big awards that are given to five very deserving individuals. All of these men have been a great contribution to West Chester University’s basketball team in the past and the present. Each individual shined to show exactly what basketball playing was about. Ben Ellis is a basketball player who was inducted to the Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame even though he never played basketball in high school. Interestingly, his school did not offer boys’ basketball. He also earned his place in the West Chester University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Dick DeLaney was impressed from the start, which is why he chose Ellis to be one of six members to comprise the DeLaney All-Era Team, which eventually became West Chester University’s All-Century club. Ellis showed his abilities when DeLaney inserted him into the starting lineup midway through the 1992-93 season. Ellis helped the team to an 18-8 overall record, and a 7-5 mark in the PSAC. He came back the next year as a full-time starter to average 15.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. According to statistics, “he led WCU to the PSAC East title with a 10-2 conference mark and an overall record of 22-6. WCU competed in the NCAA II Tournament in both of Ellis’ campaign.”
Along with Ben Ellis, Ramzee Stanton received the West Chester University Men’s Athlete of the Year award for 2002-03.
For the second straight season, Stanton was named the PSAC Eastern Division Athlete of the Year for the 2002-03 campaign for his leading in scoring (21.3 ppg), rebounding (10.9 rpg.), field goal percentage (63.2, 254/402), and double-doubles (17). He also was named to the PSAC East First Team for the fourth consecutive season. Not only did he earn these titles, but he also earned himself a spot on the Daktronics NCAA II All-American and NCAA II East Region First Teams, as well as the NABC II East Region All-District First Team. Along with these places on teams, he was chosen as the ECAC II Player of the Year. The biggest award was received last spring when he was selected to be the NABC Division II First Team All-American. He is the first from West Chester University to receive this honor.
His name is all over the career record books. Statistics state that, “his 1,957 points rank third all-time at WCU, while his 1,142 career rebound total is second. Stanton is the only player in WCU history with over 1,700 career points and 100 career rebounds. Stanton is second all-time in school history in both career field goals (756) and career free throws (444). He is second at WCU in career field goal percentage (61.3 percent, 756/1233), while his 139 career steals stand sixth in school history.”
The next three awards were given to athletes who have made a significant contribution to the sport of basketball, whether it is as a coach or an athlete. The Milton Blitz Award was given to Walt “Ozzie” Ostrowski for his excellence as a coach. Ostrowski was a 1971 graduate who received a coaching job for the Hatboro-Horsham boy’s basketball program, where he has been for 33 seasons. According to Sports Information, “his coaching accomplishments include seven league titles, four District One final four appearances, three trips to the District One title game, a District One crown in 1988, and eight invitations to the PIAA State Tournament. His clubs have won over 350 games. Ostrowski has twice been named the Montgomery County Coach of the Year, and he has been inducted into the prestigious Beaver County Hall of Fame and his hometown Ambridge (PA) Sports Hall of Fame.”
Currently, there are two West Chester University players that also received honors with the above athletes. Brandon Long and Matt Kurtz received the two awards that are given to players that exalt great qualities as athletes and show well roundedness.
The first award is the Emil H. Messikomer ’35 Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which was given to sophomore Brandon Long for his outstanding job so far. He is West Chester University’s starting point guard. Long is averaging 6.2 points per game, has accumulated 93 assists and 33 steals, and has made 32 three-pointers while getting 81 rebounds so far in his career.
The second award that was presented is the Ed Rush ’64 Endowed Scholarship, which Matt Kurtz received. Kurtz can be seen as an outstanding passer and a clutch three-point shooter. Sports Information stated that, “he averaged 11.1 points per game while shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc. He set career highs for points (311), assists (95), steals (26), blocks (7) and rebounds (104) while helping the Golden Rams to another PSAC post-season appearance. He posted a career best 54 three-pointers to up his overall mark to 76.” His career best are as follows: “438 points (6.2 ppg.) and 167 rebounds (2.4 rpg.) over his first three seasons, and also has totaled 135 assists, 35 steals and 15 blocked shots.” Kurtz has a great ability to shoot, drive and defend.
All of these athletes were recognized for the accomplishments and received their awards Saturday, April 17, which took place at the Holiday Inn-West Chester.