Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, November 13, 1999

R A I N B O W _ B A S K E T B A L L

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Troy Ostler goes to the basket against the Northwest All-Stars.

and dangerous

UH basketball newcomer
Troy Ostler is 6-foot-9 but
'with his arms, he's
like a 7-1 player'

By Pat Bigold


It's been almost 29 years since Bob Nash grabbed a school record 30 rebounds against Arizona State.

There's never been any recruit who could duplicate Nash's feat, which almost seems unreal by current standards.

But long-armed 6-foot-9 junior Troy Ostler, who grabbed 15 rebounds in an exhibition game against the Northwest All-Stars last Sunday, said the record fascinates him.

"I want to get close to his record, just so I can be there every day in practice busting his chops about it," said the junior from Salt Lake City.

"Now that's something I wouldn't mind," said Nash, Hawaii's associate head coach.


Bullet When: Tomorrow, 4:30 p.m.
Bullet Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Bullet TV/Radio: None

Nash said yesterday that if anybody ever had a shot at his record, it's Ostler.

"He has a good feel for rebounding and he has a desire to get the ball," he said. "And with his arms, he's like a 7-1 player."

Ostler averaged eight rebounds a game last season for Salt Lake Community College.

"I was a rebounder in junior college but not like what they wanted from me," he said. "They would beat on me every day about how they wanted rebounds. So now I'm taking everything they emphasized, and putting it here."

Ostler said his game under the glass for Hawaii is helped by the assertive presence of fellow inside men Marquette Alexander and Bernard McIntosh. Those two added another 15 rebounds last week.

He said 7-footer Todd Fields, despite his limited mobility, also took pressure off him in the Northwest All-Stars game.

"It helps a lot and takes a lot of the focus away from me," said Ostler.

"Most guys underestimate my frame and what I can do. So they focus on the big guys and that's when I sneak in."

Ostler said he was inspired by watching tapes of former Rainbow Eric Ambrozich, who averaged 6.1 rebounds two seasons ago.

Ambrozich picked up Ostler at the airport on Aug. 19 and befriended him.

"Before Eric left, we hung out a lot and I was watching tapes of him and he was just relentless on the offensive glass," said Ostler. "Every shot that went up, he thought would be a miss and he was in there, tipping it, grabbing it and doing whatever he could to keep the ball alive.

"I said to myself that's what I have to do."

Ostler, who led the Scenic West Athletic Conference last season in blocked shots (2.0), had four in the exhibition. Making shooters eat the basketball comes naturally for the player whose teammates have nicknamed, "Spider."

Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace said last month when an eligibility issue over Ostler was resolved that losing the thin big man could've cost the Rainbows four or five wins his season.

Asked to compare Ostler with another big man he's had during the current decade, Wallace said there's no comparison.

"He plays like a 7-footer as far as his arm length goes," said Wallace.

"We had big guys like Tony Maroney, but they were big - 280 pounds. Ostler's the kind of big man we haven't had in there for a while. He can come across and block shots and intimidate a little bit."

Ostler, who is 205 pounds, said he would like to bulk up to 220. He should have incentive to gain that weight because he's felt what it's like to be overmatched and abused in the low post.

"There was one time (in junior college), I went up for a board and a player undercut me on purpose and jumped right on my head," he said. "It knocked me out for a sec."

But Ostler has to work with the frame he's got, and he said he knows how to use it.

"In my book, it's not how big the guy is but how smart the guy is," he said.

"So, if the guy is a lot bigger than me, as long as I'm smarter than him, I'm going to go around him and do what it takes to get the ball before he does."

Ostler can also score, as his 7-for-8 shooting in the exhibition indicated. He averaged 14.0 points per game last season in JUCO.

He jams it often (to the delight of the Stan Sheriff Center crowd last week) but he can also pop it from 10 to 15 feet. In fact, in JUCO, he was once among the top 10 3-point shooters in his conference.

"But they don't want me to do that here," said Ostler.

"He definitely can score," said Alexander. "A lot of people just think he's thin and tall, that he's not agile. That a big guy like me can get in there and post him up. Then they see how high he can go when he jumps."

Hawaii plays its second and final exhibition game tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center, facing the California Midwest All-Stars.
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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