Joseph Feraci (180-PG, college: LSUA) is a 180cm guard from Slidell, Louisiana that is finished his rookie season for 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Germany-Regionalliga) in Germany playing 23 games avergaing 14.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 81.8%. He began his basketball career at Pope John Paul II High School and then played at Louisiana State University at Alexandria (NAIA) from 2014-2018. He won 3 RRAC titles. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his interesting life
Thanks Joe for talking to germanhoops.com. You were in the States and Germany during the Pandemic. How have you experienced COVID and what were the most challenging things you had to cope with?
Luckily and fortunately, covid has not been nearly as hard or challenging on me as it has for many others. I’d say the biggest challenge I faced at the height of the pandemic was lack of everyday interaction with people that I was so used to having, gyms being closed, and not being able to freely travel outside of the country.
With everything that you witnessed during COVID off the court how do you feel did you get stronger as a man?
I think it mostly made me realize how much I may have taken simple things for granted. It sort of gave me a new found motivation to take advantage of every opportunity at hand because you truly never know when you may lose certain things or opportunities.
You finished at Louisiana State University at Alexandria (NAIA) in 2018. Was there ever any thought that you could live the dream of being a professional player overseas despite never averaging more than 4,8ppg in the NAIA.
When I played my last collegiate game I never thought I’d have the opportunity to play professionally overseas. I thought that I could and believed I was good enough but the reality of it all was that I was hurt a lot in college and when I was healthy I didn’t really stand out very often on a team loaded with so much talent and other deserving guys.
You came to Germany in November 2020. Were you already in the army before you came to Germany? Talk a little about what you did after you finished at school?
I graduated in May of 2018 and got married about a year later to my college girlfriend, Katie Lemieux who played on the women’s basketball team at LSUA. Katie decided she wanted to join the Air Force and she had my full support. A few months after she joined we found out that we would be moving to Germany in November 2019.
How did the job opportunity with 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Germany-Regionalliga) come about? Who was your first basketball contact in Germany?
I arrived here in Germany in November 2019 and through playing pick-up at local gyms I was able to get in contact with Coach Mario Coursey and get a tryout with the team for the 2020 season. Things went well but the 2020 season ended up getting cancelled. Fortunately, Coach Mario reached back out to me for the 2021 season and thankfully had a spot for me on the team.
How cool is it living the dream of being a professional player with 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Germany-Regionalliga). You are putting up solid stats. What has been your secret to being able to adapt so quickly?
It has been nothing short of a great time. I couldn’t be more thankful to have the opportunity to play for FCK. The game is a lot different than what I am used to in the States. Players move and play differently and referees even call games differently. I’ve had a smooth time adapting simply through being more confident in myself than I have ever been before. My teammates and Coach Mario have especially made the transition easy on me as well.
How important was veteran Aaron Ellis for you? Was he like a mentor for you since you have been with the team?
Man, having Aaron on the team has been great. He’s a natural leader and with him having played at Wichita State back in the US I feel like we see the game similarly and we have good chemistry together on the floor. He keeps the team and I grounded when things get tough. Couldn’t be happier to have an experienced guy like that on the team helping me through my first year.
Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a 180cm point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I don’t know if I would necessarily compare myself to this guy because he’s one of the greatest point guards to ever live but someone I watch a lot and try to emulate is Chris Paul.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet with ease. What do you feel is your biggest strength on the court?
I think my biggest strength on the court would be my shooting and ball handling.
How good does it feel having a central scoring role now something you didn’t have in school?
It feels great. It’s feels like a comfortable role for me.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can keep improving your game?
I am mostly working on my in-between or mid range game and being able to finish in the paint.
With your good play on the court, how big are your aspirations to keep having a professional career after this season? How much of an inspiration is ex teammate Jordin Williams who is a rare NAIA player that has reached top leagues in Europe?
I have big aspirations and would love an opportunity beyond this year. I am confident that I can play with the best and will look to prove that as this season goes on. Jordin was my roommate in college and we put in a lot of work together. Seeing his dreams come true and the opportunities he made for himself was like a dream come true for me too because I knew the work he put in behind closed doors. So yes his story is very inspiring to me and others.
You won the RRAC tournament 3 times. Which one was the sweetest?
The sweetest RRAC that we won in my opinion was the 1st one we won my freshman year. We were down 20 at one point and came back and won in OT.
How did head coach Larry Cordaro groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Cordaro has a work ethic that not many other people have and he taught me about what having a work ethic truly means. My dad Joseph Feraci Jr., my high school coach Krisner Green, my college assistant coaches Jay Smith, Casey Apetrei and Daniel Roy, and my good friend and trainer Matt Binder all played central parts in preparing me for this moment.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jordin Williams?
Jordin has never beat me one on one. I’ve actually taught him every move he knows!
Who was the toughest player that you encountered in the NAIA or anywhere in your life in the gym that would reach the NBA?
I would have to say Stevie Clark was the toughest player I ever guarded in the NAIA.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
In no order I’d say Deangelo Coleman, Jordin Williams, Gilbert Talbot, Codey Davie, and Colby Harrison.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads.
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I grew up watching Lebron and I’d have to go with him. The physical attributes, longevity, and the peak of his prime are all 2nd to none in my opinion.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
I did not see the sequel but I couldn’t imagine it being any where near as good as the original. My blind opinion would be that they probably should’ve left it alone.
Thanks Joe for the chat.