Seventh-year head coach Bill Sall of the Ferris State University men's basketball program recently announced the squad's 2008-09 season award winners in conjunction with the team's annual postseason banquet held this past Sunday (April 26) at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids, Mich. The banquet was presented by the Rebounders Booster Club and the Rotary Club of Big Rapids.
Sophomore forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) was honored as this year's Most Valuable Player Award recipient for the second consecutive season. The 6-6 Keenan was picked as a National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II All-Midwest District Second Team honoree along with a Daktronics All-Midwest Region Second Team and All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division First Team selection this year in addition to being chosen as the Grand Rapids Press' West Michigan Player of the Year.
One of five players named to the Preseason All-GLIAC North Division squad in voting by the league's member head coaches this year, Keenan led the GLIAC in scoring (20.2 ppg.) while ranking second in offensive rebounds (3.4 rpg.), fourth in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and fourth in field goal percentage (.546). He also made and attempted more free throws (180-237) than any other player in the league this season for the second-straight campaign. Keenan reached double-figure scoring in 24 of his 25 games and totaled 20 points or more in 14 outings this year, including a career-high 33 points versus Olivet (Nov. 25). This season, Keenan set a school record by making 180 free throws. His 20.2 points per game average represented the fifth-best figure by a sophomore player in school history. Twice this season Keenan claimed GLIAC North Division Player of the Week accolades.
The Defensive Most Valuable Player Award was presented to freshman guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing). The 5-11 Molden led the GLIAC with 132 assists (4.7 apg.) this year, which represented the 11th-best figure in school single-season history. He also had 177 (6.3 ppg.) points and added 76 rebounds (2.7 rpg.) in 28 appearances, including 23 starts. The Detroit Pershing product compiled seven double-figure scoring contests and tallied six assists or more in 12 games. Molden was also seventh in steals (1.7 spg.) in the GLIAC this season.
Sophomore guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) received the team's Most Improved Player Award. The 5-10 Gay was the team's third-leading scorer (11.1 ppg.) and had 17 double-figure scoring performances in 28 games. Gay's 47 percent (54-115) shooting effort behind the three-point stripe ranks as the seventh-best seasonal mark in FSU history. A GLIAC North Division Second Team selection, Gay ranked second in the league behind Molden in assists (4.4 apg.). He was also second in steals (1.8 spg.) and fourth in three-point percentage (.470) among the GLIAC leaders. Gay placed first in the conference in assist to turnover ratio (2:1).
The Bulldogs also honored a pair of senior forwards in Mark Gildersleeve (Byron Center) and Jason Holder (Saginaw/Arthur Hill) during the postseason banquet. A three-year letterwinner, Holder played in 85 career games at FSU and recorded 394 points and 265 rebounds while making 34 starts. A three-time GLIAC All-Academic Team pick, Gildersleeve saw action in 71 outings over his four-year career and was a member of Ferris' 2005-06 NCAA Tournament Team.
Ferris State concluded the 2008-09 campaign with a 14-14 overall record and the Bulldogs placed third (12-10) in GLIAC North Division play. In addition, FSU made its 10th GLIAC Tournament appearance and fourth in the last five years this season. This year also represented the seventh consecutive year the Bulldogs have won 10 or more games under Sall after the program had not done so in the four years prior to his arrival.