Big Rapids, Mich. - Former NCAA Division II National Player of the Year and two-time Ferris State University men's basketball All-American Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) recently signed a new contract and will compete in Argentina's top professional league this coming season.
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, inked a deal with La Union Formosa from Argentina's LigaA for the 2013-14 season and will be joining his sixth team in the professional ranks. It will also mark the fourth country in which he's played since graduating from FSU.
This past year, in 2012-13, Keenan played a majority of the year for Club Trouville in Uruguay's LUB - Liga Uruguay de Basquetbol (Uruguayan Basketball League). 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, he signed with Caciques de Humacao from Puerto Rico's BSN league in March and played three contests while averaging 10 points and nine rebounds before moving in April to Capitanes de Arecibo in the same league and totaling 13 points and eight boards in a four-game stint.
The 6-7 forward/center returned to South America for his second professional season when he joined Trouville last fall after previously playing for Larre Borges in the same country his rookie campaign. He also played briefly for Panteras de Miranda in Venezuela at the end of the 2011-12 season.
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.
"Justin's had a tremendous professional basketball career so far and we're excited to see him continue to elevate his play overseas," said FSU men's basketball head coach Andy Bronkema, who worked extensively with Keenan as the Bulldogs' top assistant coach during his playing career. "He's worked hard to get where he's at and we're thrilled with the success he's had and hope to see him continue to do great things as a Bulldog alum."
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 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.
Recently, another former Bulldog standout and one of Keenan's teammates received an opportunity to play professionally overseas as Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) signed a contract to play professional hoops in Germany with the BG Bonn Meckenheim club in one of the country's top leagues.
Several other former Bulldog standouts have also had an opportunity to compete at the professional level in the past decade on the hardwood. 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 has ranked among the IBL's top scoring leaders for several seasons while playing with several different teams.
This summer, Bulldog guard Kenny Brown received a tryout with the NBA's Detroit Pistons prior to the June NBA Draft after wrapping up his FSU career during the 2012-13 campaign.
Ferris State has won four GLIAC North Division Championships and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen twice in the last decade, including back-to-back conference crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12.