Osei recognized by OUA

Fifth-year guard Lee Anna Osei nominated for the Joy
Bellinger award for academic and athletic achievement

File Photo by Shelby Blackley
File Photo by Shelby Blackley

Since its induction as an Ontario University Athletics major award in the 1995 season, a Wilfrid Laurier University athlete has been nominated for the Joy Bellinger Award.

Fifth-year Lee Anna Osei of the women’s basketball team was this year’s nominee for the award, given to the student who excels in community service and academics while being a student-athlete.

On top of being nominated for the award, Osei was also recognized as a second-team all-star for her consistent play during the season, averaging 6.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists, while maintaining an A- average studying history.

“Since arriving at Laurier after taking a year off of school and basketball, I’ve worked extremely hard to develop my skill set and conditioning over the past couple of seasons,” Osei said.

“None of my development would have been possible without the support of my coaching staff, athletic trainers and our strength and conditioning coaches.”

According to Osei, academics played an integral part in her life, as her coaches and parents would always emphasize the importance of education.

“As a first generation student, my mother always preached the importance of getting the most out of my education,” Osei explained. “Knowing that she did not have the opportunities that she has afforded me and my siblings is part of the reason I work so hard to maintain my academic standing.”

On top of academics, Osei also contributed her time to Grassroots Canada as a coach developing young prospective athletes. Started by her father figure, Ro Russell, the program is dedicated to developing young athletes in high-risk neighbourhoods, with the aim of securing post-secondary scholarships to further their education. Osei has been coaching, training and mentoring the boys’ teams every summer since she graduated high school in 2009.

Osei also volunteered with a program in Toronto called Canada Elite, which focused on the skill development and athlete exposure of high school girls throughout the Greater Toronto Area. According to Osei, she was able to train and coach the girls, as well as act as a contact for college students.

“As a player that has played locally and south of the border, acting as a coach and mentor to my players is a truly empowering experience,” Osei said. “I am a big advocator of former female athletes helping the younger generation through their playing and recruiting process.”

Additionally, Osei is proud to hold a position as one of Laurier’s academic mentors for the Athlete Academic Success Program.

“Not only did it allow me to interact and meet other student-athletes at Laurier, it enables us to mentor them from a position of relativity because we are student-athletes as well,” she said. “I believe our ability to aid students in a variety of ways or point them in the right direction promotes team cohesion and overall school spirit.”

Moving forward, Osei is looking to continue on with her passion: coaching.

After her undergrad, she is considering staying at Laurier for a little longer to pursue a master’s degree.

“I’m currently considering doing my MA here at Laurier while coaching and training boys and girls outside the school setting and even on our current basketball team rosters,” Osei said. “I’m not sure what lies ahead for me in my future, but I’m just trusting God to guide the way.”

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