Monday, August 24, 2015

Ottawa University Thrilled With Opportunity to Play at Kentucky

Ottawa University, an NAIA school in Ottawa (Kan.), is excited about their program's opportunity to play the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our program to play the highest winning Division I program in the history of men's basketball," said head coach Aaron Siebenthall. "Playing against Kentucky in Rupp Arena will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and coaches. We are truly honored and would like to thank Coach (John) Calipari, DeWayne Peevy and especially Mitch Barnhart for the opportunity."

Ottawa was 16-12 last season. Senior John O'con, who is listed at 6-foot-8, is the tallest player on the roster this season.

Here is a release from OU:

OTTAWA, Kan. - For the first time in program history, the Ottawa University men's basketball team will take on national powerhouse University of Kentucky in an exhibition game on Nov. 2 at historical Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky

This exciting matchup came about after UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, a 1981 graduate of Ottawa University, was named 2014-2015 Under Armour AD of the Year. UK's Deputy Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy reached out to OU head basketball coach Aaron Siebenthall to ask if the Braves would be interested in playing the Wildcats. Kentucky plans to recognize Barnhart and his special award during the game.

"I'm excited that Ottawa University, a school near and dear to my heart, will have this opportunity. Seeing a group of young men from my alma mater playing in Rupp Arena will be something I will always remember," said Barnhart.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our program to play the highest winning Division I program in the history of men's basketball," said Siebenthall. "Playing against Kentucky in Rupp Arena will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and coaches. We are truly honored and would like to thank Coach (John) Calipari, DeWayne Peevy and especially Mitch Barnhart for the opportunity."

Barnhart, a Kansas City, Kan., native, has been at the helm of the UK athletics department since 2002. He returned to the Ottawa campus in 2012 as a featured speaker during its Adventures in Faith event.

"We are thrilled that our men's basketball team will have the chance to step onto the court at Rupp Arena and play against a team like Kentucky," said OU President Kevin Eichner. "It is sure to be an experience that our players, student body, alumni and faculty and staff will never forget. We are grateful to Mitch and his staff for recognizing the contribution of his alma mater in this way and, in turn, we are proud to join in honoring one of our very successful alums in this way."

A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase through the Office of Advancement at a date to be announced soon. To add your name to the waiting list for the opportunity to purchase tickets, please contact Susan Trendel at (785) 248-2331 or susan.trendel@ottawa.edu. Additional details on planned OU activities and hotel accommodations can be found by visiting www.ottawa.edu/BravestoLexington.

Photo: 2014-15 team picture from Ottawa Athletics

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