Matthew Ozzella recorded his 1,000th point in a big win against Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Spaulding Gymnasium.
The game against Eastern was said to be “the game of the season.” Eastern was seated first in the conference and Keene was second. Although Ozzella knew how many points he needed to get to 1,000, he kept his head in the game. “It felt good to reach 1,000. It’s an accomplishment I’m proud of and can always look back on and tell myself that the hard work I put in paid off,” Ozzella said.
Never did Ozzella think he would make it to the 1,000-point club. Ozzella was actually considering quitting after the first season. “When you’re not playing well, you become unconfident and that’s kind of a slippery slope,” he said. Ozzella turned it around the second semester of his sophomore year and said he started playing harder. “Honestly, it’s not like I gave up, but I stopped thinking about how I wasn’t confident anymore and everything kind of fell into place.”
In previous articles from The Equinox, Ozzella was described as being able to do it all. “He can do everything,” Head Coach Ryan Cain said. “He can rebound it, he can dribble it up the court, make plays for us, he [can] pass it, he can shoot it, he can post it, he can shoot off the bound. He literally, in terms of being a basketball player, has all of the different skills that you need on offense and defense.”
He continued, “He’s a versatile guy on the defensive side, he can guard the biggest guy on the court, but I also think he can guard the smallest, quickest guy on the court. In terms of basketball skill stuff, he doesn’t really have a glaring weakness that some players do.”
Assistant Coach Nate Stitchell agreed with Cain. “He does everything, he’s kind of a mis-match for other bigs and when guards try to play him, he’s a lot bigger and stronger. When a big man tries to play him, he’s a lot quicker than them, he’s pretty smart, light on his feet. He’s a great rebounder; he kind of just does it all. In my opinion, he’s like the LeBron James of the L[ittle] E[ast] C[onference],” Stitchell said.
Shelby Iava can be contacted at Siava@kscequinox.com