Harvard has Robbie Feinberg, a Senior at Harvard. Yale, however, scooped up his younger brother Michael. A true Freshman at one of the best school’s in the country and the improving Ivy League, Michael finds himself dedicating himself to work on the court and studies in the classroom. Michael and I spoke about his love of Judaism, his grind to ensure Yale noticed him and his passion for the work had player harder attitude of the Yale Bulldogs. He is a focused young Bulldog.
1) You and your brother played in the Maccabi games. What was that experience like for you?
We had separate experiences. I played domestically representing LA and Robbie played in the Maccabiah games in Israel. But this summer we are playing together in Budapest at the Pan Am Maccabi games.
2) What was the recruiting process like for you? When did you decide on Yale?
My recruiting process stated late. I knew I wanted to go to Yale and it picked up mid to late junior year. That was the last go around before the teams know where they are going. My first offer came from Dartmouth, early that summer and that opened up doors and the scene for the Ivy League process. I went to some camps at Penn and Yale, and Coach Jones [Yale] sat me down and told me to be patient. That helped me focus and work on my game within an AAU tournament. Yale saw me play and I played well in a Vegas tournament. There was specific game when Coach Jones came to a game and I felt I played really well and after things cleared Coach Jones was in contact that he would be in touch. I accepted the offer right away because I knew it was a great opportunity.
3) Playing in the Ivy Leagues and balancing your studies with athletics must mean a lot of focus and time. What are the perks and challenges?
The challenges are that it is hard to balance these things especially with a social life or any other extra-curriculars. The team and school do encourage us all to become well rounded people. But I am very happy and basketball is my passion. There is a prestige of being with elite character people and athletes. It breads an atmosphere of excellence. It is very humbling to know you are always around people who push you to be better.
4) Can Yale make the tournament this year?
Absolutely! I am very confident based on our previous wins and watching our practices. We had wins on road at Miami and versus Cal Berkeley. We controlled 90% of the game versus Memphis. I think if we stay true to our brand of basketball we can make a nice run in the Ivy League.
5) What do you see your role as on this team?
My role is to work with my coach. He needs me to be a heady smart player and to get in the lane to facilitate and finish. I am working constantly on defense which changed at this level. I need to make the right plays, knock down corner threes and facilitate. It is hard because quickly my role diminished this year from a senior in high school who always played to a college team where I am on a deep bench. Its humbling and I need to try to control what I can control. I am always asking the coaches how I can contribute.
6) What are your plans after basketball?
I am majoring in econ and my father is a portfolio manager. I interned there this past summer. Potentially, I will try to play overseas and maybe at the Maccabi games this summer I can make some connections. But my eyes are on the present and contributing here.