Saturday, 22 August 2009

Marauders officially announce arrival of Jeppesen

He's got business on the court... Jeppesen joins Mac as he begins MBA

The McMaster men's basketball team has significantly strengthened its title hopes with the recent addition of homegrown product Keenan Jeppesen.

The 24-year-old Saltfleet Secondary School graduate will be playing for the Marauders this season while attending McMaster's DeGroote School of Business.

He'll be enrolled in the MBA Co-Op Program.

Last season, Jeppesen helped the Western Ontario Mustangs reach the Canadian university championships' semifinal game in Ottawa. He averaged 15.9 points (second best on the team) and 9.1 rebounds (third best in the OUA).

The 6-foot-7, 215-pounder played the first two years of his university career at Brown, the Ivy League school in Providence, R.I.

"He'll bring a lot," McMaster head coach Joe Raso said yesterday. "Things that we've lacked over the last couple of years.

"You get leadership, great ability and a guy who understands the game. He's also a quality person. You're getting it all. That's what makes it pretty special."

Last month, Jeppesen also suited up for Canada at the Summer Universiade in Belgrade, Serbia.

In the NCAA, with the Brown Bears, Jeppesen was a Division I all-star in 2006, averaging 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Said Raso: "Keenan can play everywhere. He can score inside, shoot the ball and bring the ball up.

He's a versatile player who has the skills to do anything you want him to do."

Jeppesen has been living in Washington, D.C., with his girlfriend since last April. He returned home to Stoney Creek yesterday for his cousin's wedding.

"McMaster would have been considered the favourite this season regardless of me coming," Jeppesen said. "I just think I'll be able to add some leadership and experience to a young, talented team."

Marauders placed third in the Ontario University Athletics league's West division last season before eventually bowing out in the playoff quarter-finals to Windsor Lancers. Mustangs had a 19-3 regular-season record.

Jeppesen was working out at Georgetown and George Washington universities in the Washington D.C., area when the option to travel to Serbia arose.

"Belgrade was an incredible experience," he said. "Probably the highest level of basketball I've played. And culturally, it was a really interesting experience in a part of the world I probably never would have travelled to."

Canada finished a disappointing ninth out of 24 teams, but Jeppesen said part of the reason was just luck of the draw.

McMaster was one of the few Canadian universities Jeppesen considered attending prior his accepting the scholarship offer. And he was also close to coming to Mac a second time when he left Brown.

"I'm excited to be home. Coach Raso has been a basketball mentor for me since I was 10 or 11. I consider him a family friend."

Jeppesen has dual citizenship and hopes to secure an internship as a financial analyst in New York City during the course of his MBA program in Hamilton.

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