Former First Presbyterian Christian Academy and Jacksonville State University basketball player D.J. Felder is headed to the United Kingdom to play for the Surrey Scorchers of the British Basketball League, according to a news report on BBC.com.
Sports writer Matt Burton said in an article posted around 3 p.m. Friday that Felder’s signing with the team was confirmed.
According to the report, Scorchers head coach Creon Raftopoulos said, “I’m delighted to have added D.J. to the squad. I’ve been monitoring him for a while, as he has all the attributes to play a key role for the Scorchers and make an impact in the BBL this season. Fans can expect a strong, dynamic power forward, a superb midrange shooter, with an excellent shooting touch.
During his senior year at Jacksonville State, Felder played in 31 games, averaging 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. As a junior, he played in 30 of the Gamecocks’ 31 games, starting 23, and averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Prior to JSU, Felder started his freshman season at St. Johns River State College in Palatka, Florida, for head coach Buster Harvey and averaged 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the floor. In his sophomore year, he transferred to East Georgia State College under then-head coach Neil Bailey. That year, he led EGSC to the state title after posting a 31-3 record and a 19-1 mark in Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association play.
Felder started his basketball career playing two season at Bradwell Institute before transferring to FPCA for his final two years.
Felder and teammate Jordan Johnson led FPCA to back-to-back state titles as juniors and seniors. The last state title was under the guidance and leadership of then-FPCA coach, and Felder’s youth mentor, Ernie Walthour. Felder played for Walthour’s AAU team, the St. James Coastal Crew Rebels.
Walthour was killed in an armed robbery two years ago this month.
Felder said he cried when he realized his dream of playing professionally has come true.
“I love you, Coach Ernie, and thank you for steering me in the right direction in life,” he said to the Courier via Facebook messaging.
He said Watlhour and FPCA assistant coach David Linderman were both instrumental in his developmental years. He added that both men presented him with the opportunities to develop his playing skills.
Felder said it appears he will be headed to the U.K. in late August or early September.
According to the BBC report, Felder is Surrey’s second signing and first overseas player. The report confirms that Felder will join the squad in the coming month, as Scorchers prepare for their BBL opener away at the Bristol Flyers on Sept. 19.
The report says Scorchers fans will first get to see D.J. in BBL action at Surrey Sports Park against the Newcastle Eagles on Sept. 25.
Felder said he plans to play his heart out for Walthour, Linderman and all of his friends and family in Hinesville. He added that maybe one day his skills will bring him back to the States, playing in the NBA.
“I love you all,” he said to his friends and family on Facebook. “And to all the kids in Hinesville, if I can do it, you can, too … This is only the beginning.”