Keene works out with multiple NBA teams, awaits Draft


Junior guard Marcus Keene smiles at the crowd during the Chippewas game on Feb. 3rd in McGuirk Arena.

During Marcus Keene's record breaking 2016-17 season with the Central Michigan basketball team, he consistently told reporters his favorite professional basketball player was Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics because he "paved the way" for guards his size.

After having pre-draft workouts with the Celtics, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons, and now heading to workout with the Houston Rockets, Keene might get a chance to line up with or against his favorite player. 

Keene's story starts at Youngstown State, where he led the team in scoring during his sophomore season. After an altercation with a teammate put an end to Keene's career with the Penguins, CMU guard Braylon Rayson helped recruit Keene to Mount Pleasant. Rayson and Keene were high school rivals in Texas, where they were raised. 

After sitting out for one season due to NCAA regulations, Keene went on to have a season for the record books.

He was the first college basketball player to average 30 points per game since Charles Jones of Long Island did it in the 1996-97 season. He was the first Central Michigan basketball player to ever lead the NCAA in scoring. 

After a while, it seemed like Keene had an off night if he only scored 30. The San Antonio, Texas native was the first player to hang seven 40-point games in the same season since the 1990-91 season. 

Keene was on everybody's radar while lighting up McGuirk Arena. 

The 5-9 guard decided to forgo his senior season at CMU and chase an NBA contract. While he is not projected to be drafted on June 22, he may have to work is way up through the Summer League and D-League as a free agent. Keene signed to Impact Sports Inc, a sports agency and management firm.

Even after leading the nation in scoring, Keene did not receive an invite to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

Following his workout with the Wizards, Keene got his chance for everyone to hear his side when the Wizards official Twitter account tweeted a video of him talking to reporters. 

"I got to show them that there's more to my game than scoring," Keene said. "I don't really pay too much attention to Draft Express, I really just go out there and continue to work on my game. I know what people say, either 'he's too small' or 'it won't translate to the NBA' but I mean I know what I can do so it is what it is. 

After the Pistons workout on June 14, Keene wanted to prove his leadership. 

"I am proving to teams that I can run a team because I know NBA teams don't need a 5-9 shooting guard," Keene said. "Scoring as well as getting your teammates the ball is something I've been doing all my life."

Keene wants NBA teams to know that he can "bring a spark of the bench" with his scoring, similar to how Isaiah Thomas was used earlier in his career. 

The 2017 NBA Draft is on June 22 in New York, and will be televised nationally on ESPN.


Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in Central Michigan Life.