Oakland University is quietly settled in the city of Rochester, Michigan. The school’s basketball program has only been a full-fledged D-I school since the 1999 season, and have only three NCAA Tournament appearances. However, The 2015-16 Oakland Golden Grizzles team might be able to be the fourth, thanks in large part to Kahlil Felder.
With no disrespect to other top collegiate athletes, Felder is by far the most dynamic playmaker this year. He sits in the top-five of all the NCAA in scoring (24.4 PPG) and is first in assists (9.4 APG). Amongst the nation’s leading scorers, none of the top-fifteen average over 6.4 assists a contest, except for Felder.
Last season was Felder’s real coming out party. He was the only player in the country to average 17 points and 7 assists per game, and was shockingly only a Sophomore.
He certainly surpassed all expectations, something he has done since high school.
In addition to a successful collegiate playing career, Felder also shined during his prep years. He finished fourth in the Michigan Mr. Basketball voting during his senior year, and was named a member of the Detroit Free Press Dream Team.
It’s a shame a powerhouse such as Michigan State missed out on such a talent, especially one that was playing in their own backyard. But that’s what happens when you’re only 5’9, as coaches from power conferences tend to dismiss the shorter high school stars from less-decorated areas.
Despite not getting recruited by Michigan State, Felder was able to get the attention of Spartan coach, Tom Izzo, during a December 22nd matchup of the two schools.
The Golden Grizzles took the nation’s top team to overtime, only to lose 99-93. Felder’s impact was heavily felt, as he scored 37 points and dished out 9 assists.
After the game, Izzo spoke to the media about Felder’s individual performance against his Spartans when they played at one the most famous arenas in the world, The Palace of Auburn Hills.
“He looked like one of the best players I ever saw play here in that stretch, and I’ve watched a lot of pro games here.”
Kahlil Felder got Izzo to notice him that night, and many other coaches have begun to recognize the Oakland star as well. And while Felder won’t win the Wooden Award, he’s definitely one of college basketball’s best.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288