By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It didn't take long for Tennessee Tech men's basketball senior Dennis Ogbe to pick up another prestigious honor this season. Just two days after earning the Ohio Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, the Munich, Germany native was named as a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award®.
Sixty NCAA® men's and women's basketball student-athletes (30 men and 30 women) who excel both on and off the court were selected as candidates for the 2013-14 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate basketball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
"Dennis is the epitomy of what we want a Tennessee Tech basketball player to be," said head coach Steve Payne. "He's always been a great worker and student, but he's been more than just that. He's a great teammate and great citizen of Cookeville and represents our program and our campus in a very positive light."
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Of the 60 candidates, 20 have grade point averages of 3.5 or higher, including Ogbe. There are eight CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-Americans® and seven returning All-Americans. Twenty-four of the 32 NCAA Division I basketball-playing conferences are represented as well.
The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Men's Final Four® and NCAA Women's Final Four®.
Each of the 30 candidate classes will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
"It comes as no surprise that he was selected as a candidate. He'd be very deserving if he won the award and we are very proud of who he is and how he represents our program."
Ogbe has played in nearly every contest in his time as a Golden Eagle, appearing in 89 games in three seasons. In 2012-13, he led the Ohio Valley Conference with a .613 field goal percentage while averaging 10.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per contest. His 40.6 3-point percentage led the Golden Eagles and he finished second on the squad with 1.0 blocks per contest. In conference play, Ogbe's numbers rose to 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Since joining the Golden Eagles as a freshman in 2010-11, Ogbe has been highly involved in the Cookeville community, participating in numerous community service events. He's run with the children of Algood Elementary School at their annual Tomahawk Trot. The event stands as the major fundraiser for the school every year and accounts for a large chunk of their expendable income. He's read to children of several elementary schools around the area. Ogbe has volunteered at the local food bank, assisting the movers in the morning with unloading perishables and other foods.
He has also helped the men's basketball team host the children of Mustard Seed Ranch for an afternoon of fun. MSR is an interdenominational Christian ministry, serving children who have been neglected, abused, orphaned, or are in need of a loving family environment. Ogbe has also spoken to different middle schools around the area about the importance of academics, staying active, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. His involvement in the community is second to none on the Tech squad and this makes him a great leader both on and off the court.
Ogbe earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in 2012-13 and has proven as steady as they come in the classroom. An electrical engineering major, he owns a 3.90 GPA through the 2012-13 academic year and has been named to the Dean's List five times. Ogbe has earned a spot on TTU's Athletic Director's Honor Roll all six semesters at Tech and has also been named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll each of his first three years. He earned the OVC Medal of Honor, given annually to the student-athlete(s) who achieve the highest GPA in a Conference-sponsored sport, two times. Ogbe is also a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honors society, and Tau Beta Pi, the overall engineering honors society.
Also named as candidates from the OVC were UT Martin guard Heather Butler and Belmont guard J.J. Mann.
Click here to take a look at Dennis' profile on the Senior Class Award® page.