POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 16, 2011
An in-state athletic scholarship at the University of Hawaii-Manoa is worth exactly $17,681.40 this year.
Which means that Miah Ostrowski is pretty much the biggest bargain to be found in the athletic department these days.
Certainly when measured by the inch (5 feet, 9 inches) or priced by the pound (175).
In one firecracker package UH has both a starting point guard in basketball and, as last night's Warrior Bowl scrimmage conclusion to spring practice reminded, a starting slotback in football.
Ostrowski, in a cameo appearance on a night when the defense dominated and no touchdowns were scored, caught three passes for 21 yards and was a crowd favorite.
He might be the only player who, standing on the middle of the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex at the finish of the Warrior Bowl, was asked to sign both footballs and basketballs by adoring fans.
For sure he was the only one with both UH football and basketball coaches and teammates surrounding him. You could call it looking out for their investment. “They’re both my family,” Ostrowski said. “They’re all my teammates.”
In an age of specialization, Ostrowski is a remarkable rarity who captures our imagination not only for what he is accomplishing but for the obvious joy in the way he goes about it. But, then, he appreciates the pinch-me wonder of the situation, especially when looking back.
What he has now is a far cry from a year ago, when he was deep in the football depth chart and hardly even on the basketball radar.
“I thought the window for basketball was all over this time last spring,” Ostrowski acknowledged. “I really thought I was done and that it (basketball) wasn’t going to happen for me. It was almost before the end of the year before I got the call. But then things happened.”
A day after the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl he was out for basketball. And, within weeks, he was a starter on the court. A game-breaker, too.
Now, with the end of spring practice he has an opportunity to pick up a basketball again. At least until fall practice starts in July, when it is prohibited lest he suffer an injury. He’ll also miss out on basketball coach Gib Arnold’s planned exhibition tour of China and Japan.
The juggling of sports, he said, has teammates and friends “asking me if I have scholarships for both sports. And, ‘I’m like, nah. I wish.’ Oh, man, that would be great. One would be for rent and one would be for spending.”
Said Ostrowski after pondering the idea, “I don’t think you can do that, yeah?”
No, the NCAA hasn’t seen fit to offer that benevolent possibility.
But if it did, Ostrowski would certainly be deserving.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.