Note: The story below was highlighted on the Division II men's basketball page on the official NCAA website at this link: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/basketball-men/d2
Keenan leading Ferris State
By Brian Lester, NCAA.com
You would think Justin Keenan would have the weight of the world on his shoulders. After all, being the NCAA Division II preseason national player of the year comes with high expectations.
But the Ferris State senior forward said there is no pressure at all on him in a year in which he as led the Bulldogs (22-7) to a 20-plus win season for the first time since 2005 when they played in the Sweet 16.
Keenan said that is a credit to his teammates.
"I don't feel like I have to do everything," Keenan said. "I have great teammates and any one of them can step up on any given night. We win basketball games because we always give a good team effort."
Ferris State head coach Bill Sall echoed those thoughts.
"Justin is a great basketball player, one of the best in Division II, but we are not a one-man team," Sall said. "We have a lot of good players on this team and I'm proud of how this team has competed this season."
Ferris State, ranked 23rd in the nation, went into the weekend as the top seed in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
Yet, despite battling hard against Wayne State (Mich.) for 40 minutes, the Bulldogs were the victim of a crushing loss, falling 73-71 in the conference tournament final when Mike Hollingsworth tipped in a missed shot with 1.5 seconds remaining.
Keenan scored 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the loss, a typical performance for a player who is averaging 21.9 points and 10 rebounds and is the all-time leader in points scored against GLIAC competition.
And while Keenan couldn't lead the Bulldogs to a conference tournament championship, the two-time GLIAC Player of the Year is looking forward to playing in his first NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs are seeded sixth and will take on Wayne State (Mich.) in the opening round of the Midwest Regional on Saturday in Louisville.
"It feels good to get to play in the tournament because we've worked hard for the opportunity," Keenan said. "It was one of our goals this season and hopefully we can accomplish something while we are there."