By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Area Small College Coaches Association will hold it’s annual Hall of Fame dinner later this month, inducting three new members.
The only player getting the call this year is former Division III Ursinus College star Dennis Stanton. A 6’2″ guard who went to La Salle High School, Stanton ended his college career at Ursinus with 1,903 points. He’s back on campus these days in Collegeville, serving as an assistant coach for the Bears.
“It’s quite an honor to be named along with other members of the Hall of Fame,” Stanton tells KYW Newsradio. “And also to be brought in at a time where I’m back at Ursinus, coaching at Ursinus, it’s definitely an honor.”
Stanton had an outstanding playing career at Ursinus, but it was his senior season that really took him from great to “Hall of Fame” level. Stanton led the nation in scoring in 2003-04, pouring in an unbelievable 32.6 points a game. That allowed him to earn the Mid-Atlantic Region Player of the Year award, amidst a host of other honors. On February 7th, 2004, he broke the spirit of a previously undefeated and nationally ranked Franklin and Marshall squad when he poured in an Ursinus and Centennial Conference record 55 points in a 104-92 win.
“I had a pretty good summer (prior to senior year), played down in the Sonny Hill League and played with a lot of Division I players, and I kind of gained my confidence through playing against higher level opponents,” Stanton says. “But there was never a time where I thought to myself, this is going to be an amazing year. Even halfway though the season, all I thought about was the next game and we prepared for the next game and prepared as if it was the biggest game of the year. It just kind of happened. So to say I planned to lead the country in scoring, no it wasn’t a plan, it wasn’t a goal of mine. It just kind of happened. It was facilitated by our head coach Kevin Small, he just does a wonderful job at developing players and also putting players in position to score.”
After his college career, Stanton went on to play professionally for four seasons in Europe, spending each season experiencing a different country. After his playing days ended,Stanton returned to the states, teaching and coaching at Souderton High School before heading back to his alma mater to serve on staff under Small.
“I feel very blessed for what basketball has given me,” Stanton says. “I think it makes it easier giving back to the game, through coaching, through working with kids, through working with high school kids. Fifteen years ago, I was a freshman at La Salle High School struggling to find time on the JV team as a sophomore. I definitely would not have thought that basketball would have given so much to me. So I definitely feel blessed for having the coaches that I’ve had and the players that I’ve played with and the success that I’ve had.”
Joining Stanton in this year’s Hall of Fame class are Robert “Dondi” DeShields and Bob Heller.
DeShields is the winningest coach in the history of the program at the Community College of Philadelphia. In 13 seasons, DeShields was 333-80 and during his tenure his teams won six Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association state titles. He is currently an assistant coach at Delaware County Community College.
Heller has spent the last 16 years as the Sports Information Director for Division II University of the Sciences, and in 2005 he became an assistant athletic director at the school. For the past 13 seasons, he has organized the Small College Coaches Association’s luncheons and banquet.
This year’s Philadelphia Area Small College Association Hall of Fame dinner is set for March 18th at the University of the Sciences.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.