Size. Defense. Long-range shooting.
Those are the three primary question marks surrounding the professional outlook of 5-foot-9 Oakland University phenom Kay Felder, who worked out for the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of securing himself a draft slot during next Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Felder, who finished fourth in the NCAA in scoring (24.2) and first in assists (9.3), made the short jaunt from Oakland’s Rochester campus to the Pistons’ practice facility in hopes of proving that his diminutive stature shouldn’t deter teams from taking a chance on the lefty gunner from Detroit Pershing.
Having worked out for upwards of 10 other NBA teams up to this point, Felder excelled at the NBA pre-draft combine in May and has subsequently seen his name pop up on multiple mock draft boards in the weeks since, most slotting him as a mid- to late second round pick.
Still, it remains an uphill battle for the 21-year-old high-flyer as he works to counter the presumption that he may not be up to the task when it comes to locking in defensively against next-level competition. He’s been fighting hard to disprove such a notion, finishing out the draft combine with six steals in just 47 minutes of work.
“Everybody says, ‘I didn’t know you could play defense,’ ” a soft-spoken Felder told reporters. “I just smile and laugh. I just showed I could play defense. It was one of my strong suits at Oakland.”
Receiving little recruiting attention on account of his size coming out of high school, Felder shined on the mid-major level but also reserved some of his most special performances for the big stage, including a 38-point, 9-assist, 6-rebound showing during his team’s 97-83 upset win over Washington and a 37-point, 9-assist tally in a near-upset of then No. 1 Michigan State just four days later.
“I just showed my overall game in those games,” Felder said. “Really, I tried to do that in every game I played. But those on the national stage, when the lights are on, I’m always ready.”
The Pistons, who are in dire need of additional backcourt firepower coming off the bench, could do a lot worse than utilizing their second round pick (49th overall) on a high scoring jitterbug boasting a 44-inch max vert.