Path to Greatness: C.M.U.'s Marcus Keene defying the odds, rewritting the record books
Marcus Keene's story starts three years ago when he started his college career at Youngstown State. As a freshman he averaged 15 points per game, including one impressive performance against Central Michigan that caught the eye of Chippewa head coach Keno Davis. "We remembered the name Marcus Keene, he put quite a few points on the board," Davis remembered.
Youngstown State's half court offense wasn't what Keene was looking for however so he bit the bullet, sat out a year, and transfered to Central Michigan where he could flourish in Davis' fast paced offense, and he's never looked back.
Davis says, "He saw how undersized guards can be effective in a full court, fast-breaking, pressure defense type of system that we have."
During that year off, Keene spent all of his time leading the scout team in practice every day against the likes of Chris Fowler and Rayshawn Simmons, giving them fits on a daily basis. The year off also allowed his body to heal.
"I just had all these little injuries that you pick up here and there that needed to heal, so it was good for me to take the time off."
This year, both Fowler and Simmons are gone, leaving the door wide open for Keene and he's taken full advantage. In 10 games this season he's eclipsed the 30 point mark 8 times, including a 40 point, 10 assist night against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Tuesday in a 107-97 victory. The Chippewas are now 8-2 in 2016, and Keene leads the nation in scoring, averaging over 30 points per game.
"I never thought I'd lead the country in scoring," he admitted. "But coming here to Central Michigan I knew I could average 20 plus just because of Keno's style of offense and the way he lets me go but to be averaging, no I didn't think that."
C.M.U. hasn't had a player drafted since Chris Kaman was taken by the Clippers in 2003, but standing only 5'9", Keene's biggest challenge certainly isn't his ability, it's his size. So he's doing everything he can to show the scouts how valuable a player like him can be, even taking inspiration from another Michigan product, former Oakland University star Kay Felder.
"With Kahlil Felder getting drafted last year averaging 24 and he lead the country in assists, anything is possible. Maybe I could get a workout in the NBA draft combine or even just in the D-League but I just really want to play professional somewhere."
Marcus never dreamed he'd reach this level of success and if he continues to dream big, he may very well achive his goal, and one day play in the NBA.