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Big Rapids, Mich. - One of the most prestigious honors in Ferris State University men's basketball history was received today (March 28) as senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) was honored as the Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year.
Keenan, who was recognized by the publication as its preseason national honoree prior to the start of the 2010-11 campaign, is the first-ever Bulldog player to claim National Player of the Year award laurels in men's basketball history.
"As our Preseason Player of the Year, Justin was expected to have a great season and he certainly did," said DIIB editor Gary Rubin. "He was a force on both ends of the floor for a top caliber team. He is most deserving."
Division II Bulletin, which is published by GSR Communications, is celebrating its 20th anniversary season of covering small college basketball and has named a National Player of the Year every season since the 1991-92 campaign.
As the National Player of the Year, Keenan headlines the Division II Bulletin All-America team, where he was joined on the first team by Bloomfield's (N.J.) Greg Daye, Bellarmine's (KY.) Jeremy Kendle, West Liberty State (W.Va.) senior Corey Pelle and Rollins (Fla.) senior Nick Wolf.
"This culminates Justin's outstanding career and is a direct result of all the hard work and dedication he's made over the last four years," said FSU head coach Bill Sall. "We're extremely proud of all his accomplishments and this is one that few players ever get to the opportunity to receive. He's been a special player and helped lead us to great things this year along with his fellow seniors and teammates."
Division II Bulletin picked a total of 20 players as All-Americans by awarding first, second, third and fourth team status. In addition, 33 others claimed honorable mention honors. Keenan and Findlay guard Nathan Hyde, who earned honorable mention status, were the only players from a GLIAC-member school on the list of 53 individuals.
Previously, Keenan had been pegged as one of the nation's top five players at the Division II level by being to the 2011 Daktronics All-America First Team. He participated in the 2011 Reese's Division II All-Star Game this past Friday (March 25) eveing at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield (Mass.) and helped the West All-Stars to a 96-91 victory.
This year marks the second consecutive year in which Keenan has earned All-America accolades. Last season, he became the first Bulldog player in 36 years to claim All-America accolades 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. He was also chosen to the Division II Bulletin All-America Second Team a year ago.
The Bulldogs' previous All-America performers all played at the NAIA level and included Bernie Kilpatrick (1963-64), Jesse Mangham (1968-69), Dennis Johnson (1973) and Lewis Garner (1974).
Keenan earned first team all-region honors for the second consecutive year from both the NABC and Daktronics. He was also chosen by Daktronics as its Division II Midwest Region Player of the Year.
Keenan paced the GLIAC in scoring for the third consecutive year by averaging a personal career-high 21.6 points per game overall this season. He has also had his best season on the glass with a league-best 10 rebounds a contest in regular-season action and was the only player in Division II basketball to rank among the nation's top 20 performers in both categories.
The Division II Bulletin Preseason National Player of the Year became the league's all-time career scoring leader in the Bulldogs' regular-season finale versus Grand Valley State (Feb. 26). The 6-7 Keenan also recently became the first Bulldog player ever to earn the GLIAC's Player of the Year honor twice and only the third player to claim the recognition twice in GLIAC history.
In addition to leading the league in scoring and rebounding, Keenan also totaled a league-best 16 double-double efforts and had a conference-best four games of 30 plus points or more this campaign. The 6-7 Keenan tallied a conference-high 18 games of 20 points or more and reached double-figure scoring in 30 contests. His play helped the Bulldogs to their first league championship in six years and the right to host the GLIAC Semifinals/Finals for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign.
A three-time All-GLIAC honoree and four-time GLIAC North Division Player of the Week honoree this season, Keenan's play led the Bulldogs to the 2011 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship Game and the Sweet Sixteen (March 12-15) in Louisville, Ky. The Bulldogs won their first NCAA Tournament game in six years this season with back-to-back wins in the regional quarterfinal and semifinal rounds over Wayne State and Drury (Mo.), respectively, before bowing out to eventual national champion Bellarmine.
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).
The 6-7 Keenan earned both Daktronics All-Region and All-GLIAC accolades for the third consecutive season and was a two-time first team all-region recipient. Overall, Keenan reached double-figure scoring 109 times in his 116-game collegiate career, including scoring 10 points or more in 87 of his final 91 games. He also had 28 double-double efforts as a collegiate player.
More information on Division II Bulletin can be found at www.smallcollegehoops.com.