CHICAGO – Oakland University’s Kay Felder is the shortest player at the NBA combine, measuring in at 5-foot-9 with shoes … make that 5-foot-9 ½.
He has point guard size with shooting guard skills, and has played with a perpetual chip on his shoulder for like, you know, forever.
Indeed, his narrative thus far in many ways parallels that of current Celtic Isaiah Thomas who is a player that – surprise, surprise – Felder looks up to.
“After the Michigan State game (a 99-93 overtime loss for Oakland), I’ve talked to Isaiah Thomas a couple times,” Felder said.
And while the two have a budding friendship, that bond could become more than that as teammates.
Felder said the Boston Celtics were among the teams he interviewed with this week at the NBA combine which concludes on Friday.
Their conversations consisted primarily of Thomas providing advice to Felder on what it takes to make it in the NBA.
“He just said, ‘being small you have to be special,’” Felder recalled.
And Felder was just that during the various drills this week.
His maximum vertical leap of 44 inches was tops among all players. And his ¾ sprint time of 3.15 seconds was the second-best time at the combine.
And while his play this season gave him the confidence to enter the draft after his junior year- just like Thomas did when he left Washington – Felder said that confidence is only strengthened when he sees the success that Thomas has had in the NBA.
This past season, Thomas was named an NBA all-star for the first time in his career. In addition, he helped Boston advance to the playoffs after finishing in a four-way tie for the third-best record in the East.
The success Thomas had did not go unnoticed by Felder.
“It gives me all the confidence in the world because I know I can do it,” said Felder who averaged 24.4 points and 9.3 assists per game this past season when he was named Horizon League Player of the Year. “That just added motivation to it.”