AP Report: Marcus Keene, nation's leading scorer, to declare for NBA draft

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Central Michigan guard Marcus Keene torched Montana State for 44 points in his most recent game. (AP)
Central Michigan guard Marcus Keene torched Montana State for 44 points in his most recent game. (AP)

The nation’s leading scorer, Marcus Keene, will forego his senior year at Central Michigan to declare the NBA draft, the Associated Press reports.

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Keene, a 5-foot-9 scoring machine, is the first player to average 30 points per game in 20 years. But despite carrying a heavy scoring load, the Chippewas lost their last eight games and finished the season at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference.

Before coming to Central Michigan and teaming up with Braylon Rayson, another undersized, high scoring guard, Keene spent two seasons at Youngstown State.

In December, Keene told Yahoo that he decided to transfer because he wanted to play more minutes as a scoring point guard and the Penguins used him off the ball as a shooting guard. Since transferring, he has doubled his scoring average.

Currently, draftexpress.com does list Keene in its latest 2017 NBA Mock Draft. The only player that the leading draft website projects will be selected that is under 6-foot is Kansas’ Frank Mason III.

“While Keene’s numbers are definitely eye popping he has a way to go before he works his name into the NBA Draft conversation,” draftexpress says. “Like most guys his size he relies on contested difficult shots and can be a liability on the defensive end at times. His numbers are definitely inflated due to the system he plays in, and the ultimate green light that he is, but there is no denying the dynamic ability he has to put the ball in the basket.”

But undersized guards like Isaiah Thomas are finding success in the NBA. Keene’s consistent and explosive scoring ability will likely lead into a future in professional basketball eventually, whether that’s in the NBA or somewhere else.

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