Thomas' success has given 5-foot-9 Felder confidence


Thomas' success has given 5-foot-9 Felder confidence

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.

Sound familiar?

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.”

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”