Ferris State Alum Justin Keenan Named Among Top 5 Professional Players In Mexico, Central & South America

Ferris State Alum Justin Keenan Named Among Top 5 Professional Players In Mexico, Central & South America

Big Rapids, Mich. - One of the top men's basketball players in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) history was recently chosen as one of the best standouts internationally this season as former Ferris State University star Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) earned recognition among the premier players in all of Mexico, Central & South America.

Keenan, who earned Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year honors after leading the Bulldogs to a GLIAC Championship and the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen as a senior in the 2010-11 campaign, was chosen to the 2015 Latinbasket.com All-Liga Americas First Team and selected as the "Forward of the Year" for his efforts in helping lead Pioneros de Quintana Roo of Cancun to a runner-up finish in the Liga Americas Playoffs.

Prior to the international playoffs sponsored by FIBA, Keenan claimed LatinBasket.com All-Mexican LNBP First Team accolades and was tabbed as Mexico's "Center of the Year" in earning big-time distinction for the club. A total of only five players were named to each of the first teams.

The 26-year old Keenan had a stellar season for Pioneros de Quntana Roo in both the domestic league and postseason action. He helped lead Pioneros to a second-place finish in the Liga Americas Playoffs this past March and was the leading scorer in the entire tournament at 19.3 points per contest in eight games during the Liga Americas Tourney, which included a Final Four berth to Rio De Janiero in Brazil.

The Liga Americas Playoffs, also known as the FIBA Americas League, is an international professional club competition played annually by clubs of the Americas. Essentially, it is the first-tier and most important professional international competition in the regions of South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. 

The recognition is the latest in a showcase professional career for Keenan, who's midst his fourth season of international competition. Keenan played last summer for Maratonistas de Coamo in Puerto Rico where he was the league's top scorer at 22.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 29 contests while earning All-Puerto Rican BSN honors. He recently returned to the same organization late this past month for summer action following the Liga Americas Tourney.

In 2013-14, prior to going to Puerto Rico, Keenan played at La Union (LigaA) in the Argentinian league. In 44 games, he was the league's third-best scorer at 20.1 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per contest. It marked a successful year in his career as he was voted to the Latinbasket.com Argentinian LigaA All-Imports Team. 

Keenan played a majority of the 2012-13 season for Club Trouville in the Uruguayan Basketball League where he earned All-Uruguay LUB Forward of the Year, All-League First Team and All-Imports Team honors.  He averaged an impressive club-leading 26.3 points per game and 9.2 rebounds over 38 contests in addition to shooting 54% from the floor and 35% behind the three-point stripe. Later the same year, he signed with Caciques de Humacao from Puerto Rico's BSN league and played three contests while averaging 10 points and nine rebounds before moving to Capitanes de Arecibo in the same league and totaling 13 points and eight boards per outing in a four-game stint.

The 6-8 forward/center began his career in South America after previously playing for Larre Borges in Uruguay his rookie campaign. In his initial professional season (2011-12), Keenan averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds per contest in Uruguay while leading the league in scoring and placing third in the league MVP race. Keenan helped lead his squad to within a game of the playoffs in his initial season overseas when he shot over 57% from the floor and nearly 79% at the free throw stripe. He also played briefly for Panteras de Miranda in Venezuela at the end of the 2011-12 season.  

The Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in 2010-11, Keenan paced the GLIAC in scoring for the third year in a row as a senior at Ferris State and was the only player in Division II to rank among the nation's top 20 players in both scoring and rebounding his final campaign.  He also became the GLIAC's all-time career scoring leader and only the third player in league annals to win the coveted GLIAC Player of the Year honor twice.

Keenan's play helped the Ferris State men to the 2010-11 NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship Game in Louisville, Ky.  The Bulldogs also captured the GLIAC North Division Championship and hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals and Finals.  Ferris State earned runner-up laurels in both the conference and NCAA regional tournaments in his senior season.

His senior collegiate campaign marked the second consecutive year in which Keenan earned All-America accolades. As a junior, he became the first Bulldog player in 36 years to claim All-America honors and FSU's first-ever All-America pick at the Division II level by being named to the 2009-10 State Farm Coaches' All-America Team.  The standout was chosen to participate in the 2011 Reese's Division II All-Star Game and also attained first team All-America honors from both Basketball Times and Daktronics in 2010-11 while earning first team all-region honors for the second consecutive year and All-GLIAC First Team laurels for the third-straight season.

Keenan concluded his Bulldog career by scoring 2,259 career points and ranks second all-time in Bulldog history.  He's also the school's all-time leader with 797 made free throws while ranking third in rebounding (901) and seventh in field goal percentage (.548) on the all-time charts.

Keenan is one of only several former Bulldog standouts who have had an opportunity to compete at the professional level in the past decade on the hardwood.  This past season, Bulldog alum Jerrell Sanders was drafted in the sixth round by the NBA D-League's Grand Rapids Drive and officially saw game action late this past season in the inaugural campaign for the Detroit Pistons' affiliate. He had ranked among the top players in Germany the previous year.

Among others, former standout point guard 
Dennis Springs spent time overseas before playing professionally in the International Basketball League (IBL) with the Holland Blast. In addition, former forward Terrance Shaw ranked among the IBL's top scoring leaders for several seasons while playing with several different teams.

Another former Bulldog, guard Kenny Brown, received a tryout with the NBA's Detroit Pistons prior to the 2013 NBA Draft after wrapping up his FSU career and played pro hoops in El Salvador and Iraq following time with the Lake Michigan Admirals of the Premier Basketball League. 

Yet another past Bulldog guard, Courtney Blackmore, claimed the Premier Basketball League's Defensive Player of the Year honor for the Lake Michigan Admirals last year while ex-guard Austin Randel scored the first-ever basket for professional basketball's Grand Rapids Cyclones in their first outing in 2014. Former standout center Adam Anderson previously played with another Grand Rapids-based team in the Flight of the now-defunct IBL for several years. 

Over the past decade, the Bulldog men's basketball program has reached the NCAA Tournament four times and claimed four league championships. Ferris State recently finished the 2014-15 campaign with a 23-9 overall record. In addition to winning the GLIAC Tournament Championship this year, the Bulldogs' season was also highlighted by an NCAA Tournament appearance and several other accomplishments including a top 20 national ranking, a 15-game regular season win streak, an exhibition victory over NCAA Division I Bowling Green and signature wins such as the team's first-ever victory at Findlay's Croy Gymnasium. FSU also led the GLIAC in attendance during the regular season.