Cal Poly

Keeler now looking to pro career overseas

Cal Poly’s Lorenzo Keeler drives against Pepperdine’s Keion Bell during a Dec. 5 game at Mott Gym.
Cal Poly’s Lorenzo Keeler drives against Pepperdine’s Keion Bell during a Dec. 5 game at Mott Gym. nlucero@thetribunenews.com

Cal Poly senior Lorenzo Keeler is not encouraged by the job market in the current U.S. economy.

So, he’s going to look elsewhere.

Named the Cal Poly men’s basketball Most Valuable Player at the team’s awards banquet Thursday, Keeler revealed that he had signed with an international sports agent and intends to play basketball professionally overseas.

“Ever since coming to college, my goal was to play professionally at some level after college,” Keeler said. “Right now, I’m not looking too forward to getting a job in this economy, so if they’re going to pay me to play basketball, I’m going to do it until they won’t pay me any more.”

Keeler said he signed with Spain-based agent K.C. Callero, the youngest brother of first-year Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero.

K.C. Callero had a professional playing and coaching career in Europe after his college days and has spent more than 10 years as an international basketball agent.

“I had a ton of agents hitting me,” said Keeler, who led the Mustangs in scoring (16.2 points per game), free throws and assists this past season, “but it’s a business, and I felt more comfortable with coach’s brother because I felt there was a connection there and he was someone I could actually trust. There’s a lot of shady stuff going on. Agents will tell you this and that, and won’t get you your money.”

Keeler has yet to sign with a professional team but expects to find a new home sometime late this summer or early in the fall. He would join Derek Stockalper, Dreshawn Vance and Matt Hanson as recent former Mustangs now playing abroad.

Keeler showed his versatility this past season. He spent most of the year playing on the wing, but for the home stretch, Joe Callero moved the Escondido native to point guard.

The move was intended to take some of the load off of first-year player Kyle Odister, who was named to the Big West All-Freshman Team. The byproduct of Keeler’s move was that it likely made him a more attractive professional prospect.

“The success he had in the Big West Conference, his ability to play the point and the two guard and even the quality he has to articulate in press conferences,” Joe Callero said.

“He’s media savvy. I think you look at the whole picture, and that’s what someone’s looking for in Europe.”

Keeler shot 36.3 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from 3-point range. He led all Mustangs with 56 3-pointers and 84 assists, but he truly excelled at drawing fouls.

Keeler had 50 more free-throw attempts than the next closest Cal Poly player and ranked second in the Big West by making 86.2 percent of his free throws.

In the Mustangs’ 73-69 comeback victory over UC Irvine in the first round of the Big West Tournament, Keeler scored a game-high 27 points and matched 30-year-old conference tournament records for both free throw’s made (18) and attempted (18) in a single game.

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