September 9, 2010

Keenan, Bulldogs Draw Preseason Attention

Big Rapids, Mich. - The 2010-11 basketball season is still two months away, but already the Ferris State University men's basketball program and senior All-America forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) is drawing noteworthy attention.

The Bulldogs were listed as one of the nation's possible breakthrough teams for the 2010-11 campaign in The Sporting News Division II Preseason Top 10 poll. 

Additionally, the publication tabbed Keenan as one of the country's top five players entering the year as he was named to The Sporting News' Preseason All-America First Team list.

The publication chose fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member Findlay as the preseason number one team in the country.  Additionally, another GLIAC school and FSU archrival Grand Valley State was picked third overall behind Findlay and preseason number two Bellarmine (Ky.).  All three teams are from the Midwest Region.

The Bulldogs were listed as one of 32 "Possible Breakthroughs" this campaign for the top 10 in the preseason listing.  The list of potential breakthrough squads also included fellow GLIAC school Hillsdale along with other Midwest Regional teams Drury (Mo.), Kentucky Wesleyan and Southern Indiana.

The 6-6 Keenan was chosen as a preseason All-American for the second-straight year by The Sporting News after garnering honorable mention status a year ago.  He was one of five first-team picks and joined by Chris Banchero (Seattle Pacific), Gage Daye (Bloomfield), Darryl Webb (Indiana, Pa.) and Dauntae Williams (Central Oklahoma).  Grand Valley State's Justin Ringler was one of five second-team picks and the only other player from the Midwest Region found on either the first or second team squads.

Keenan was honored as both a 2009-10 State Farm® Coaches' All-America First Team selection, becoming the first-ever All-America pick at the Division II level in Ferris State men's basketball history.  He was the first Bulldog player in 36 years to claim All-America accolades and joined four previous players to achieve the distinction in Ferris men's hoops history. Keenan was also tabbed as a 2009-10 Division II Bulletin All-America Second Team recipient.

Previously, Keenan received both NABC All-District and Daktronics All-Midwest Region First Team honors last campaign. He was also chosen by the Grand Rapids Press as its West Michigan Small College Player of the Year for the 2009-10 campaign.

Keenan was also honored last year as the winner of the prestigious GLIAC Player of the Year Award for the 2009-10 season, becoming the first Bulldog men's basketball player in 20 years to attain the recognition. He was only the fifth player in school history to be tabbed as the league's top seasonal performer and the first since David Tuck in 1990.

A two-time first team All-GLIAC recipient, Keenan averaged a league-leading 21.1 points per game in 22 conference regular-season contests last season and held a 20.1 points per game average for all games last campaign.  Additionally, his 465 points in league games finished only six shy of matching the league's single-season scoring record of 471 points set by Saginaw Valley State's Michael Williams in the 1993-94 season.

The 6-6 Keenan also broke two GLIAC single-season records with his 176 made free throws and 253 total attempts in league regular-season play last season while becoming the school's all-time leader in career made free throws (562) along with topping his own single-season record with 215 makes in all games at the charity stripe.  He shattered the previous league records of 132 free throws made and 196 attempts that had been set by former Bulldog center Adam Anderson in the 2000-01 season.

Keenan guided the Bulldogs to a second consecutive conference tournament berth and a trip to the semifinals after leading the league with 14 scoring games of 20 points or more overall last year. He claimed GLIAC North Division Player of the Week accolades four-straight weeks during the season and reached double-figure scoring in 28 of 29 contests last campaign.

In addition to leading the league in scoring, Keenan also concluded the season ranked first in offensive rebounds (3.2 pg.) along with third in field goal percentage (55.1%) and fifth in total rebounding (6.9 rpg.). To date, Keenan has 1,569 career points and ranks eighth on the school's career scoring chart.

His 215 free throws (215-312) last year topped his own school single-season mark of 180 free throws recorded the year before (2008-09). He shot 154 free throws more than any other GLIAC player last season for all games and made 90 more than any other league player. Last year marked the third-straight year he led the league in both makes and attempts while being voted FSU's team Most Valuable Player for the third year in a row.

Overall, Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in 79 of 84 career outings. He's tallied 10 points or more in 56 of his last 58 contests, which included a personal career-high 35 points in a league home win over then defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay in early February of last season (Feb. 6) as the Bulldogs beat the Oilers for only the second time in the last 45 years.

Keenan led the Bulldog men's basketball team to a 16-13 overall record last season and it represented the eighth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under current eighth-year head coach Bill Sall after doing so only twice in the seven seasons prior to his arrival.

THE SPORTING NEWS
NCAA Division II Men's Basketball
2010-11 Preseason Top 10

1. Findlay (Ohio)

2. Bellarmine (Ky.)

3. Grand Valley State (Mich.)

4. Arkansas Tech

5. Cal Poly-Pomona

6. Indiana (Pa.)

7. Seattle Pacific (Wash.)

8. West Liberty

9. Winona State (Minn.)

10. Bentley (Mass.)

 
Possible Breakthroughs

Alabama-Huntsville, Anderson (S.C.), Augustana (S.D.), Bloomfield (N.J.), BYU-Hawaii, Central Missouri, Central Oklahoma, Drury (Mo.), Felician (N.J.), Ferris State (Mich.), Florida Southern, Fort Lewis (Colo.), Georgia College & State, Hillsdale (Mich.), Humboldt State (Calif.), Kentucky Wesleyan, Lynn (Fla.), Mary (N.D.), Metro State (Colo.), Midwestern State (Texas), Minnesota State-Mankato, Montevallo (Ala.), Mount Olive (N.C.), Philadelphia University (Pa.), Queens (N.C.), Rollins (Fla.), St. Cloud State (Minn.), Southern Indiana, Stonehill (Mass.), Tarleton State (Texas), USC-Aiken, W.Va. State

Sporting News Preseason All-Americans

First Team: Chris Banchero (Seattle Pacific), Gage Daye (Blooomfield), Justin Keenan (Ferris State), Darryl Webb (Indiana, PA), Dauntae Williams (Central Oklahoma).

Second Team: Jet Chang (BYU-Hawaii), LaMarshall Corbett (Angelo State), Chris Hall (Lynn), Justin Ringler (Grand Valley State), Nick Wolf (Rollins).

Honorable Mention: Darius Adams (Indianapolis), Daniel Bailey (Queens, N.C.), Thomas Baudinet (Saint Anselm), D.J. Blackmon (Lenoir-Rhyne), Donnelle Booker (Cal Poly-Pomona), Simel Boyd (Francis Marion), Sharif Bray (Cheyney), Justin Brock (Quincy), Tyler Bullock (Nebraska-Omaha), Kyle Caiola (Findlay), Rashad Callaway (Tampa), D'Mario Curry (Lincoln Memorial), Byron Faison (USC-Aiken), Chris Hagan (Midwestern State), Alex Hall (Drury), Braydon Hobbs (Bellarmine), Marquel Hoskins (San Francisco State), Nathan Hyde (Findlay), Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State), Jeremy Kendle (Bellarmine), DeAndre Lansdowne (Fort Lewis), Jefferson Mason (Minnesota State-Mankato), Darin Mency (Merrimack), Josh Miller (W.Va. State), Anthony Moody (Mary), Brian Morris (Humboldt State), Donte Nicholas (Metro State), Corey Pelle (West Liberty), Blake Poole (Saint Martin's), Cody Schilling (Augustana), Justin Swidowski (Holy Family), Brian Tracey (Bentley), Anthony Tucker (Winona State), Marques Whippy (BYU-Hawaii), Taylor Witt (St. Cloud State), Chris Woods (Pfeiffer).

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