She's quiet if you don't know her, but to her best friends she's kind of crazy," says Kelly Black--co-captain of the Harvard women's basketball team--about teammate Allison Feaster.
"Around us she's very different than she is around other people," co-captain Jessica Gelman says of Feaster. "Around the team she's vocal and opinionated. But in the presence of others, she takes on this shy demeanor."
To her credit Feaster is an enigma to media and opponents alike. Opposing coaches were taken by storm her freshman year, when the Chester, South Carolina native poured in 17.0 points per game, was 16th in the nation in rebounding (11.2 rpg), was the unanimous choice as Ivy League Rookie of the Year and won All-American honors.
No one was taken by surprise the next season, but that did not keep the Harvard junior from placing second in the league in both scoring (18.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.1 rpg) on her way to Ivy Player of the Year accolades.
This season all she did was pace the team in scoring (21.8 ppg), rebounding (10.8 rpg), steals (61), blocks (18), three-pointers made (45) and field goal percentage (.485) in helping lead her team to an undefeated Ivy League season and a second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The 5'11 forward also added another Ivy Player of the Year trophy to her already substantial mantle.
"I've matured a lot and I think I've become a better team player," Feaster says. "I'm more comfortable with my role here."
Her role on the court is to crash the boards incessantly and to score both as a post player and as an outside shooter. Her offensive versatility is part of what makes her so difficult to defend.
Feaster's career achievements are nothing short of astounding. She is one of only four players to surpass the 1000-point and 500-rebound plateaus in their Harvard careers,
Second on Harvard's all-time scoring and rebounding list, Feaster is on a pace to dethrone Crimson legend Tammy Butler '95 in both categories.
Off the court, she also has much in common with Butler in that neither could ever be baited into talking about individual accomplishments. Feaster has always been much more concerned with being a star than advertising her stardom.
"[Feaster] is very, very special in that she uniquely combines a tremendous amount of skill and talent with sincere humility," coach Kathy Delaney-Smith says. "I really believe she would rather not be the focus, but she understands why she is the focus. I think she believes that she is just part of the puzzle."
Feaster sometimes appears to be a reluctant, even recalcitrant superstar to members of the media, but "Charlie"--as friends and teammates know her--is a confident floor leader. Feaster's pulling teammates into a huddle or shouting from the sidelines is a familiar sight at Harvard basketball games.
"Allison's quiet about her confidence, but it oozes from her," says junior Karun Grossman. "She's still very vocal, but she's always cool and collected."
"To people who don't know her, she comes across as shy and quiet," Black says. "She's a very determined person, so whatever she does, be it argue with someone or study for something, she always comes across very confidently. If she wants to do something, she's going to do it."
Feaster's determination has translated into success both academically and on the basketball court, as she was both her school valedictorian and "Miss Basketball South Carolina" as a high school senior.