Someone forgot to tell Allison Feaster that basketball season was over. Although Harvard (23-5, 12-2 Ivy) ended its season two weeks ago with a loss to Final Four participant Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Feaster has continued to rack up perhaps the most notable individual honors of her illustrious career.
Over spring break, the Crimson's co-captain was named to the 1998 Kodak Division I Women's All-America Basketball Team, and she was selected as the 1998 Eastern College Athletic Conference/AmeriSuites Division I Women's Player of the Year. She is the first Ivy Leaguer ever to receive either distinction.
"I didn't expect [Kodak All-American]," Feaster said. "I never really thought I could actually get that. [ECAC Player of the Year] is a surprise, too. I appreciate the honor."
Being named to the Kodak All-America Team--which recognizes the nation's 10 best players--is widely regarded as the highest honor that a player can earn, short of National Player of the Year. The Kodak press release reads:
"The Kodak Team is the oldest and most prestigious of the women's honor squads, having been around since 1975. It is selected annually by those who know the women's game better than anyone else...Division I members of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)."
Feaster's ECAC Player of the year award might be the more surprising, although by no means the more glamorous, of the two. With the University of Connecticut--home to one of the top women's basketball programs in the nation--as a member of the ECAC, Feaster beat out National Player of the Year finalist and UConn's all-time leading scorer Nykesha Sales for the honor.
Feaster also spent the week displaying the on-the-court ability that earned her those accolades. On Saturday she took part in the WBCA All-Star Three-Point Shootout and played in the WBCA Honda Senior All-Star Game in Kansas City.
Both events capped off a four-day celebration of the All-America Team during the WBCA National Convention at the Final Four. The WBCA also held a banquet in the players' honor at which Feaster was chosen by her fellow All-Americans to speak on their behalf.
"It was weird at first," Feaster said of the festivities. "I had never been in the company of those people before. I really started to feel a part of it all as the week progressed. [At the banquet] I just spoke about what Kodak All-American meant to me--going to a WBCA camp in the 10th grade and watching the video and thinking how I would never be on it. Now that's all different."
Feaster's latest achievements come on the heels of what is perhaps her greatest collegiate moment. On March 14 she led Harvard to college basketball's most historic tournament upset ever, a 71-67 victory over fifth-ranked Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The win represents the first time in the history of the men's or women's Tournament that a No. 16 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed, and Feaster led the Crimson with a 35-point, 13-rebound effort on national television. She followed that up with a 28-point, 10-board performance against Arkansas two days later, and the frenzy from agents, professional leagues and members of the media began almost immediately.
"A lot of people I encounter--and almost everyone at the Final Four--have seen that game [against Stanford]," Feaster said. "Things have really changed. Since we made the Tournament and since my eligibility is up, the calls have been pouring in. I'm not going crazy yet, but my privacy has gone down the drain."
Believe it or not, Feaster's phenomenal senior-year surge into stardom is not over. The WNBA Combine will be held in Chicago on April 16-18, and the ABL Combine is on April 26-28. The WNBA draft will take place on April 29 with the ABL draft following in May.
Players must sign with one professional league or the other, but they cannot sign with both. Feaster--who is currently in the process of hiring an agent--has not decided with which league she will sign, but she has announced that she will definitely pursue a professional basketball career.
Feaster was already offered a position as an equities analyst with Merrill Lynch, but the company has informed her that the job will still be available after she completes her basketball career, should she choose to follow that path. Feaster is expected to be a high draft pick in either the WNBA or the ABL--the latter has already informed Feaster that she need not attend its Combine.
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