Niagara Gazette

Sports

May 7, 2010

Niagara basketball great "Boo" Ellis dies

NIAGARA FALLS — Alex “Boo” Ellis, a standout player on the Niagara University men’s basketball team in the 1950s, died Thursday night. He was 74.

Ellis remains the Purple Eagles’ most prolific rebounder more than 50 years after he left Monteagle Ridge. In three seasons from 1955-58, the 6-foot-5 center grabbed 1,533 missed shots, an average of 19.4 per game. He has the three highest single-season rebounding totals in school history.

In a December 1956 win over Villanova at Madison Square Garden, Ellis set a school record with 31 rebounds. He matched that figure in a February 1957 game at Kent State, while also scoring 31 points.

Ellis’ 1,656 career points ranks eighth in school history. At the time of his graduation, he was the program’s second all-time leading scorer.

Niagara went 52-27 in Ellis’ three varsity seasons, qualifying for the National Invitation Tournament in 1956 and 1958.

The Minneapolis Lakers selected Ellis with the 16th overall pick in the 1958 NBA draft. He spent two seasons in the NBA, averaging 5.1 points and 5.2 rebounds.

During his senior season, Ellis was named MVP of the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City. He averaged 28 points and 25 rebounds in the three games against Western Kentucky, San Francisco and Tulsa.

“There are a number of people who put Niagara University on the map,” Purple Eagles coach Joe Mihalich said. “Boo Ellis was one of them.”

 

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