Big Rapids, Mich. - Former Ferris State University men's basketball standout Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) recently inked a contract to continue his professional hoops career overseas.
Keenan, who earned Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year honors after leading the Bulldogs to a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) championship and the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen as a senior in the 2010-11 campaign, returned to South America for a second season of professional basketball in late August.
The 6-7 forward/center signed thru the Arete Sports Agency to play this season with Trouville in Uruguay after previously playing for Larre Borges in the same country a year ago. He also played briefly for Panteras de Miranda in Venezuela at the end of the 2011-12 season. His signing is expected to help bolster Trouville's frontcourt in the LUB - Liga Uruguay de Basquetbol (Uruguayan Basketball League).
A year ago, 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.
"My experience last year was great and I really couldn't have asked for anything more out of my first season of professional basketball," Keenan said. "I spent time this summer working on a lot of things to help my game so I can become an inside and outside threat. I'm looking forward to another season overseas."
Keenan spent nearly eight months out of the United States last year in pursuing his professional basketball dream. He will spend the 2012-13 campaign competing in the capital city of Montevideo in Uruguay, which is located on the water and near the beach.
"The experience itself was mind-blowing sometimes last year when you stop and realize you're really 6,000-plus miles from home," he said. "My first month or two were a little rough getting used to the different food and being away from family and friends.
"Once I got past the homesickness, I began to feel more comfortable and it showed in my game," he added.
Keenan helped lead his squad last season to within a game of the playoffs in his initial season overseas. He shot over 57% from the floor and nearly 79% at the free throw stripe.
"I had some great teammates who worked hard and we got along well off the court," said Keenan.
Ferris State men's basketball head coach Bill Sall said Keenan's success overseas comes as no surprise after a stellar career with the Bulldogs.
"We're excited for Justin and thrilled with the success he's had in South America," Sall said. "He left as perhaps the most decorated player we've ever had at Ferris State and his accomplishments speak for themselves. We wish him the best this season and know he'll continue to represent the Bulldogs well."
The Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in 2010-11, Keenan paced the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in scoring for the third year in a row 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 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. 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.
The Ferris State men's basketball program has won back-to-back GLIAC North Division Championships heading into 2012-13 and own four league titles under Sall's direction. FSU has also made three trips to the NCAA Tournament and twice reached the Division II Sweet Sixteen in his tenure.