Birthdate: April 18, 1921
Birthplace: Bellefontaine, Ohio
High School: Bellefontaine (1942)
College: Bowling Green State University (1946)
Year Inducted: 2011
At 6-foot, 11 1/2 inches, Don Otten was one of basketball’s first giants and one of the first to dunk the ball. Playing for Bowling Green State University, Otten denied so many shots while stationed near the hoop that he and two other big men were responsible for the 1945 goaltending rule change. The others were George Mikan (6-10) of DePaul and Bob Kurland (7-0) of Oklahoma State.
Otten sparked Bellefontaine High School to the state Class A semifinals in 1939 and led Bowling Green to three prestigious National Invitation Tournament appearances in 1944-45-46. The Falcons were runner-up to DePaul in 1945. In 1946, the year when he was a consensus All-American, Otten scored 30 points in an NIT overtime loss to Rhode Island. In 1945-46, Don led BGSU to a championship in a 4-team Chicago Invitational Tournament (CIT) that featured Oklahoma State and DePaul with future Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame enshrinees Bob Kurland, Henry Iba, George Mikan, and Ray Meyer, where Don outplayed the competition and was unanimously voted the CIT MVP. Don was a member in 3 college all-star games, and left BGSU’s as the holder of many school scoring records including its all-time leading scorer (career points) and was recognized bySports Illustrated as one of the game’s influential big men in mid-1940’s to mid-1950’s. He played seven seasons (1946-47 to 1952-53) in the National Basketball League and its successor, the NBA. He earned many NBL honors including NBL’s leading scorer and most valuable player for the 1948-49 season. Don Otten passed away in September, 1985.