James Feldeine is a 30 year old 193cm shooting guard from the Bronx, New York that is playing his ninth professional season and first with Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel-Winner League). He began his career with Quinnipiac (NCAA) in 2006 and had a stand out career there and as a senior played 33 games averaging 16.5ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 79.7%. He began his professional basketball career in 2010 and always had to move his way up to the top. He had to prove himself in his first two seasons in the Spanish Leb Gold with Leche Rio Breogan Lugo where he was in top 5 in scoring both years. Then he made the jump to the best domestic league in Europe ACB to Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada where he was second in league scoring once. After a year with Acqua Vitasnella Cantu (Italy-Serie A) he made the jump to the top joining Panathinaikos Athens (Greece-A1) where he played two seasons winning 3 titles. Last season he played with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS) playing 16 games averaging 12.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 81.0%;and played 28 Euroleague games averaging 11.6ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 39.4%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 86.5%; and played 26 Adriatic League games averaging 14.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 82.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Basketball Champions league game in Bamberg.
James thanks for speaking to germanhoops.com. Welcome back to Germany. You have a positive 2-2 record against Brose Bamberg. I would imagine the most memorable game was the 84-83 win two seasons ago on the road. What memories do you have of that game?
I think that was that game where Nick Calathes hit the game winner. I remember it always being a good atmosphere in Bamberg and I remember having a good game there. It is always tough to play there. The fans get loud. They really get into it and are never afraid to bother the opponent.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Do you have any friends balling here?
I have had a few friends playing here over the years. Edgar Sosa played in Ulm years ago. Now my friend Lamont Jones is playing in Ludwigsburg. My current teammate De´sean Butler also played in Ulm. They all said good things about Germany and had fun here. It is a competitive league where fans love the game. It is a good place to play.
Your playing your first season in Israel after having seen Spain, Italy, Greece and Serbia. What have been the biggest positives besides the weather?
Of course the weather is great. It is very Americanized in Israel which makes it easier for us. It is a good place for Americans to live. The people welcome us and there are very good restaurants there. I like how the organization really take care of it´s players.
Hapoel Jerusalem did a house cleaning getting 10 new players, but the club has gotten off to a good start in both leagues. What has been the secret to the success of the team so far?
I don´t really know. That is a good question that I get a lot. It is a brand new team with many good players. I feel we all have understood early what we need to do individually and then come together on the court and be successful. We have bought into coache´s philosophy. He is a good coach that is a player´s coach that understands us on and off the court.
The team is filled with so many talented players, but really happy to have a guy like Amare Stoudemire. How have you experienced his presence so far and what have you appreciated most about him on and off the court?
Amare is a great human being. He is a real family guy. He is always talking to his kids at the back of the bus. He reads the game so well and goes out of his way to help the young players get better. He is always one of the first at practice and one of the last to leave. His amazing work ethic helps us all. He is trying to get back to the old Amare Stoudemire.
After two seasons with top Euroleague team Panathinaikos Athens (Greece-A1) you moved to Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS) last season winning the Serbian title. What kind of experience has it been moving from a traditional Greek team to an old school Yugoslavian team?
It was a tough transition for me. Greeks think differently than Serbs and vice versa. I started off slow, but picked up my game at the end of the season. It was a good experience, but I believe I came out of it as a better player and person.
Last season you played with American Taylor Rochestie. Do you sometimes see a little of yourself in the mental drive of Taylor Rochestie? He like you had to take many steps before reaching the Euroleague level?
We talked about that a lot. We have had the same path. We both started off playing for low budget teams and then moved our way up. We are both good examples of that it doesn´t matter where you start but where you end. We had many long talks about our careers.
How much potential does Dylan Ennis have. Does he play with a little chip on his shoulder because of his NBA brother Tyler?
He has game. It has nothing to do with his brother. He can really play the game of basketball. He had a tough injury last season, but he will return and play well. He helped us win some Euroleague games and games in the Serbian league. It really sucked that he got released last season. He is having a great season in Spain now leading the ACB in scoring. I talk to him every day. He will be a big name in Europe in a few years.
How much of a joy was it playing with the beast Pero Antic? What do you appreciate most about his game?
He has a lot of experience. He always made sure that we all got along. He loved that team spirit. He always brought everyone together after a tough loss. He had come from a Euroleague winning team and right away and helped the young players. He is a great guy waiting at home now waiting to be signed by a team.
Let´s talk about your game. You are a tall shooting guard that has been a scorer your whole life. Do you sometimes feel like your scoring has overshadowed the other skills that you have on the court?
Everybody has always seen me as a scorer. I don´t go crazy having this label. I just go out and focus on winning. I don´t worry about anything else.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength that isn´t seen right away on the court?
I don´t really know. Some days my shot is falling and other days it isn´t. Others days I´m scoring at ease in the paint and other days I´m not. Whatever is working that day is what I try to keep doing in the game to be successful.
Would it be fair to say that nothing was ever presented on a silver platter for you until you reached Panathinaikos Athens? You played at a lesser known school Quinnipiac (NCAA), then played two seasons in the Leb Gold in Spain and then reached the ACB, but played for a lesser known team. Did you learn to live playing with a chip on your shoulder?
All my life. My whole career has been overshadowed. You really need to win in Europe to get looked at by Euroleague teams. I think my season in Eurocup the season before helped me get that job.
You played the last two seasons with Panathinaikos Athens winning three titles. Were these the two most enjoyable seasons as a professional?
Yes for sure. I played arguably for one of the best team´s in the history of European basketball. Athens is a great city and it has great fans. There was so much that you could do off the court. I had many teammates and some real great ones.
In your first season you played with Greek legend Dimitris Diamantidis who was near the end of his career. Do you appreciate the time you had with him more now than then simply because one realizes now really how much of a legend he really was when he is gone?
Yes of course. When I got there, I knew who he was, but I hadn´t known just how big he was. He really taught me a lot when I was there. He knew that it was my first big team. He helped me get through a lot of adversary. He helped me figure out so many things about life. He is a great guy.
What was the best example in an experience that you had there where you realized you were playing with one of Europe´s most traditional basketball team?
Anytime we were at an airport it was crazy. Everybody wanted pictures or autographs. I remember having a lot of security with us when we traveled.
You played two seasons with Baloncesto Fuenlabrada from 2012-2014. In your first season you were the second best scorer in the ACB. How did your game grow in these two seasons in the ACB?
I think it helped a lot that I was playing against great competition night in and night out. I was playing in the best domestic league in Europe and every game was a challenge. Every defense was trying to stop me. The league made me become a better scorer. I made better decisions on the court that has helped me until today as a scorer.
In your first season there you lost two nail bitters to FC Barcelona. What was your most memorable win in the ACB?
That is hard because I have played so many games. I would say when we beat Valencia at home who were then a Euroleague team. I had something like 37 points.
In your first two seasons you played with Leche Rio Breogan Lugo (Spain-LEB Gold). You were top 5 in scoring in the league both seasons. What dues do you feel did you learn in this time that helped you make the step to the ACB?
My first season was tough. It was first year overseas and I was alone. Even if it was tough, I think the experience made me become a better person. The coach gave me a lot of freedom. He put the ball in my hands and gave me confidence. Scoring is what I did for two years.
How important was a guy like Wilbert Brown that first season? Was he like a mentor for you?
He was a veteran. I don´t really remember too much. I remember living in the same building. He helped me a lot my first year teaching me the ropes.
After reaching the Euroleague, did those NBA dreams pop up again? You were holding your own against ex NBA players in the Euroleague. You had had a work out with the New York Knick and once poured in 50 points in a summer league game against NBA players Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker. Did you just not have the right contacts to get a better chance?
I don´t know. It has to do with NBA politics. I believe that I reached my peak in Greece. 26 is a little bit old for trying to reach the NBA from Europe. I always had NBA dreams, but not anymore. It was never about if I could play or not, because I could. There are so many things that go along with reaching the NBA.
You played at the 2014 World Cup in Spain with the Dominican Republic playing 6 games averaging 9.7ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 62.5%. What kind of experience was it playing against the States losing 106-71 and playing against guys like Curry, Irving,Davis, Harden, Thompson and Derrick Rose?
I remember that game well and all the others. We played them three times that summer. I played well in every game and it gave me a lot of confidence. I knew that if I could play well against them, then I would have no problem playing with the best in Europe. That experience was amazing for me.
You played at Quinnipiac (NCAA) from 2006-2010. You didn´t break out until your junior season. If someone had told you after your second season that you would go on to have such a successful professional career what would you have thought?
I would of said this. “No way your lying”.
You reached two NEC tournament semi-finals and one final. What do you feel in that time was missing for having been able to win a title?
It was tough excepting that we never won it. It was tough losing to Robert Morris. It is something that is still in the back of my mind.
Can you still remember that Robert Morris loss in the NEC final like it was almost yesterday?
I remember that last shot. I played well, but we struggled as a team to score in that game. I gave our team a boost, but they were simply better than us that day.
After a tough freshman season where you hardly played, head coach Tom Moore came on board in your last three years. How important was he for your continued growth in school. Would you be where you are today without him?
I thank him every summer. I wouldn´t be here today without his guidance. He pushed the right buttons when I was a sophomore. He made me a better student and player. He put the fire in me and made me the player that I am today.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jeremy Baker?
How do you know Jeremy Baker?
It´s just research
He would of beat me then, but I don´t know about now.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA right n
Malcolm Delaney. I also have played against him in Europe.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
Michael Jordan. He is a dog. He can score and win games on his own. I just had this argument at lunch today.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I don´t remember. I´m not much of a movie guy.
James thanks for the chat.