Trinity Catholic head coach Mike Walsh said, "Dave is a special kid and an excellent student. He made everyone around him better, which is a true measure of a great basketball player. We'll miss Dave and Duke is lucky to have him. He's a great kid."
Susan Starr was named the Connecticut Post's Female Athlete of the Year along with receiving All-American Scholar-Athlete honors. She competed for the Mustangs in soccer, basketball and golf. Starr is moving on to Connecticut's Ivy League program, Yale, for her collegiate years.
Megan Tilly, Fairfield High School's athletic director, noted, "Susan Starr is an outstanding student, athlete. She is a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and girls golf) that has excelled both on and off the field. We are extremely proud of all of her accomplishments over the past four years and especially proud of her winning the Dave Debusshere award for 2004."
Winners were also announced from the states of New Jersey and New York:
- Michael Murphy, Sr., Holy Cross HS (Flushing, NY) / Football
- Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Jr., Archbishop Molloy HS (Briarwood, NY) / Basketball
- John Oates, Sr., Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ) / Basketball
- Essence Carson, Sr., Rosa Parks Performing Arts (Paterson, NJ) / Basketball
The winners were determined by criteria representing the qualities of the late Knick ' great and NBA Hall of Famer: outstanding overall excellence in athletics (not limited to basketball), academics and community service. DeBusschere, an NBA Hall-of-Famer and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, passed away suddenly on May 14, 2003. The winners will also be recognized at a to-be-determined Knicks game in the fall.
"Dave was an outstanding athlete, a great leader and a tenacious competitor, and we are proud to be able to extend his legacy to some of our future stars through this award," said Steve Mills, president, Sports Team Operations, Madison Square Garden. "It is a fitting, on-going tribute to a true New York legend."
"I know Dave would be honored that his name is being used to recognize both the on- and off-court accomplishments of these great student-athletes. Our family sends our congratulations and wishes them the best for the future," said Gerri DeBusschere, widow of Dave DeBusschere.
"It is an honor for us at MSG Network to be able to celebrate the legend of Dave DeBusschere this way," said Mike McCarthy, President, MSG Network. "The outpouring of nominations was a testament to what Dave meant to this area. We think that these high school student-athletes embody what he represented and know he would be proud that they were chosen as the award's first recipients."