WU engineer enters NBA draft
Senior Zach Feinstein doesn’t fit the image of a professional NBA player, but he’s officially part of the 2008 National Basketball Association draft.
The 5-foot-8-inch, 130 pound, applied mathematics and systems engineering major wasn’t part of the 2008 Division III men’s basketball national championship team. Feinstein hasn’t even played organized basketball since third grade. But he filled out the appropriate forms and can be picked up by any NBA team, including the New York Knicks.
To be eligible, Feinstein needed to be at least 19 and one NBA season had to have passed since his high school graduation. The senior also had to express his desire to enter the draft in writing at least 60 days before the draft to the NBA. “All included, it probably cost me at most $10 to do all of this, and that is because I used Hi-Tec Copy to fax the forms,” Feinstein said.
Feinstein, who is the webmaster of Washington University’s Intramural Sports website, took the process one step further by creating a site that explains the draft process and provides his qualifications and stats. The most common reaction to the news is either laughter or disbelief. “My parents think it is hilarious,” Feinstein said. “They never expected me to be famous because of sports.”
Senior Dan Braunstein suggested that Zach declare for the draft in 2007. “I just happened to suggest it to the one person with the foresight and wherewithal to create a humorous website chronicling the process,” Braunstein said. “Add that to his blissful ignorance of what he was getting into, and you have the Internet sensation that was Zach Feinstein.”
Feinstein’s website, draftfeinstein.com, has been visited hundreds of times, and a Facebook group supporting his efforts has over 500 members. His key stats include “Assists: I work alone,” “Steal: Like a Times Square Rolex,” “BLK-WHTE,” “Game-got none and “Rebound: Only to get over Sarah.” According to Feinstein, the information was a group effort with several close friends who completed the statistics after much brainstorming.
“I can’t choose a favorite, but I have gotten the best reactions over the Rebounding statistic,” Feinstein said. “That is still too painful to talk about at this time, though if Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) from the movie wants to give me a call, I would be all for that.”
Multiple media outlets including NBC Sports, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and ESPN.com have written about Feinstein’s story. “The attention and positive support that Zach has received has gone far beyond what we ever could have imagined,” Braunstein said. “In a way, I feel bad for the other fifteen kids who went through with declaring as an ‘unknown individual.’ To his credit, Zach and his website have made it seem like he was the only one.”
Feinstein boasts many skills including a vast knowledge of basketball trivia, a team oriented attitude and strong work ethic. Feinstein is also more than willing to take the minimum salary to aid a team’s salary cap.
“It’s been a long time coming,” second year law student and close friend Joel Volotzky said. “His mental game was always there, but I think he had doubts if his physical game could match up. What you’re seeing now is a complete player, ready to enter the league.”
Feinstein will be researching structural dynamics in China this summer when the draft occurs in Madison Square Garden on June 26. “If I get picked I would definitely go. I would happily be paid to sit on the bench for 82 games,” Feinstein said. “You can’t get better seats than that.”
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