The Ottawa University men’s basketball team opens the season Saturday in another country. The Braves will play two games in the Virgin Islands Classic.

Ottawa’s season opener is against the University of the Virgin Islands at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The Braves play 3 p.m. Sunday against Wilberforce University.

“We are excited to get this season started,” fourth-year Ottawa coach Aaron Siebenthall said. “Playing earlier in the year than normal will be interesting. We are exited about our trip to the Virgin Islands. We hope our non-conference schedule challenges us and prepares us for the rigors of KCAC play.”

Ottawa returns an experienced squad with eight lettermen, which includes two starters and a part-time starter. Ottawa finished 18-14 overall and fifth in the KCAC last year. Ottawa added three transfers who expect to make an immediate impact.

“We are excited about this year’s team,” Siebenthall said. “Last year was a fun season with some big wins. We think this group is ready to continue our progression. They are a fun bunch to coach. They are all bought in and work hard.”

The returning starters are senior guard Ryan Haskins, who averaged 12.5 points, and junior guard Jackson Mallory, who averaged 5.2 points and 4.1 assists. Junior Forward Mason McDow (10 points, 4 rebounds) started 15 games last season.

Other returners include seniors Darryl Bowie, Mat Beldeh, Kobe Mead, Eli Ponce and Kyle Patrick.

The newcomers include Highland Community College transfers Jaquan Daniels and Andre Jackson, as well as Lucas Zeman from Santa Monica College.

“We have three transfers we are very exited about,” Siebenthall said. “All three are two-way players that make us a better and deeper team. They are meshing well with our returners and they will all make a big impact in our program.”