Rob Feaster ’95 has
played ball in Australia and Germany. And now he’s
winning over fans in Reims, France.
By David Driver
Many college basketball players—especially at the
Division I level—enter their first season with dreams
of the National Basketball Association, no matter how unrealistic
those aims may be.
This is sometimes true of non-scholarship
hoopsters, even in the Patriot League—which is known
for its high graduation rate among student-athletes. And
it certainly was true for Rob Feaster ’95, who came from
Chicago to Mount St. James with high hopes in the early
Feaster, however, put up offensive
numbers that most Patriot League players can only dream about.
He averaged 28 points per game for the Crusaders in 1993-94,
ranking second in the nation in Division I, behind future
NBA star Glen Robinson.
Not to be outdone, he averaged
25 points—eighth in the nation—and 6.9 rebounds
per game in his final season. For comparison, the entire Army
team averaged 50.5 points per game during the 2003-04
Feaster had 2,224 points in his
Holy Cross career. That is the most ever for a Patriot League
player, and second in school history. He was the Patriot
League’s most valuable player in 1993 when Holy Cross
won the league title. Player of the year in 1995, he was
named to the all-decade team in the Patriot League. Feaster
was drafted by the Connecticut Pride of the Continental Basketball
Association after college, but the NBA never called his name.
But 10 years after his graduation,
Feaster is now playing pro hoops—though he admits he
will never order room service as a player in the NBA.
"My clock on the (possible)
NBA experience has clicked,” he says. “The NBA
was a dream that wasn’t attained.”
But that doesn’t mean that
Feaster, who turns 32 in May, has not had a lengthy and profitable
pro career. He has—and the 6-foot-7 forward has seen
much of the world at the same time. Feaster has played for
pay in Germany for three seasons, in Australia for nearly
three full seasons, and, in January, he joined a team
in France . He also played in the minor leagues in the United
“It depends on what your
goals and priorities are,” he says, prior to a game
in Paris . “Not everyone can play over here. And I
am not talking about talent.”
The stories are legend: many American
hoopsters come to Europe for a tryout, or perhaps have signed
a contract. And more than a few, over the years, have
gotten on the next plane and headed home—the victim
of culture shock, a foreign language or perhaps being without
a support system for the first time.
“They don’t want to
come over here and be forgotten,” says Feaster.
So what advice would Feaster give
to aspiring Euro-players?
“First and foremost,” he
says, “you have to have an open mind. Americans by
nature are pretty confident and arrogant. You have to respect
(that) you are in someone else’s home. You have to
adapt to that. You have to be humble.”
Feaster doesn’t pretend to
be perfect. He says he was naive as a rookie pro in
1995-96 when he played in Germany .
“I was one of those young
people who wanted people to adjust to me,” he says. “In
my younger years (as a pro), I thought I had to come over
and score buckets. But they don’t want you to come
over here and make their (native) players look silly. They
want you to complement their players, on and off the court.”
"In school,” he explains, “you
have structure. You have classes. When you are an adult and
your occupation is basketball ... you would be surprised
at how much free time you have.”
So how does Feaster spend his free
“I take my profession seriously,” he
says. “I stretch (in exercises), I do what I need to
do. I make sure I eat right. I do massages, physical therapy,
ride the bike.”
Feaster played in Australia for
most of the past three seasons. Playing for the Perth Wildcats
in 2002-03, he averaged 19.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per
game as his team advanced to the finals, and he was a second-team
Last season, he played for the
Victoria Giants in Australia and averaged 18.5 points and
5.7 rebounds per game.
“The quality of life is great, and everyone speaks
English,” he says of the Land Down Under. Feaster saw
the world-famous Opera House in Sydney ; when he played in
Germany from 1995-98, he visited famous cathedrals and the
site of the former Berlin Wall.
He thought he would have to sit
out this season while dealing with family issues in Chicago
. But Reims —a team in the French pro A league—had
room for a second American on its roster, and Feaster signed
a temporary contract in January.
Most Americans who play pro hoops
in Europe are provided the free use of a car and apartment
by the team, and the salary is normally tax-free. So Feaster’s
expenses in France are just meals, utilities and
phone calls back to the States.
In his third game in France , Feaster
had a team-high 16 points in 29 minutes of action in a 72-66
loss to Paris Racing Basket on Jan. 22 in southeast Paris
. He averaged 14.3 points per game in his first outings for
Reims , a town of about 200,000 people nearly 90 minutes
northeast of Paris .
"The people are great, and
it’s a nice town,” Feaster says of Reims . “We
are trying to get a stronger following (for the team), but
you have to win games.”
That was a problem before Feaster
joined the team. The team fell to 2-16 with the loss to Paris,
whose lineup included point guard John Linehan from Providence
College, plus former players from Georgetown, St. Joseph’s
and North Carolina State.
American Ryan Fletcher, the top
scorer for Reims this season, was impressed when Feaster
joined the club. “From day one he was making shots,” says
Fletcher, who played at the University of Cincinnati . “He
causes a lot of match-up problems. You really can’t
put a big guy on him because he is too quick.”
Feaster is one of four former Crusaders who spent
part of this season with a pro hoops team in Europe—and
two others were in France: Ryan Serravalle ’02 joined
Mulhouse of the French B league in January and averaged 10
points and 2.5 assists in his two games. Patrick Whearty ’03
was averaging 8.5 points in 12 games when he was injured
in December 2004 while with Clermont in the French A league—which
also includes Reims . Chris Rojik ’97 was averaging
20.4 points per game in late January for Rhoendorff in the
German B league.
David Driver is a freelance writer from
Maryland who has covered two Patriot League basketball tournaments.
A contributor to Eastern Basketball, The
Washington Post and The
Associated Press, he lives in Szeged, Hungary.