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Former Quinnipiac star James Feldeine leads Dominican Republic against Team USA basketball

Former Quinnipiac guard James Feldeine is starring for the Dominican Republic national team. (AP Photo/Fernadno Llano)

Former Quinnipiac guard James Feldeine is starring for the Dominican Republic national team. (AP Photo/Fernadno Llano)

The last time you saw former Quinnipiac guard James Feldeine he was in tears, tugging on head coach Tom Moore’s shoulders on the sidelines, his year-long dream snatched away by a guy named Velton.

Then there he was Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, crossing up Stephen Curry and then draining a three in his eye, snatching the ball from Damian Lillard and going coast-to-coast for a crowd-wowing dunk, and taking it to the hole against an amalgamation of the best basketball players in the world.

It’s been four years since Robert Morris vanquished top-seeded Quinnipiac, 52-50, in the 2010 NEC Championship Game at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in Hamden, ending the Bobcats’ best basketball season ever and their first real shot at the NCAA Tournament. (Velton Jones hit the eventual game-winner). Feldeine was the leading scorer on that team as a senior, averaging 16.5 points per game.

Quinnipiac's senior James Feldine, left, cries in head coach Tom Moore's arms after the Northeast Conference men’s championship NCAA basketball game in Hamden, Conn., Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Robert Morris won the game 52-50. (AP

But only now is the 26-year old playing in the biggest basketball games of his career.

The former QU star led the Dominican Republic national team with 14 points Wednesday night, as it was ceremoniously smashed by the United States, 105-62, in an exhibition game before the FIBA World Cup, which begins August 30 in Spain.

Feldeine started for the D.R., guarded NBA All-Stars Curry, Irving, and Klay Thompson, and undoubtedly became the focal point of U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s defensive gameplan in the third quarter, when he was torching the U.S. from deep. Though he grew up in Washington Heights, N.Y., his mother was born in the Dominican Republic, which is why he’s eligible to play on the country’s national team.

Feldeine finished the game 6-for-10 from the field. His 14 points came in just 20 minutes of action.

Most realistic Quinnipiac fans probably thought they’d never hear from Feldeine again, that he’d disappear into some basketball league in Europe and only be thought about during a whimsical Google search at a random spare moment. But there he was Wendesday on the big stage, being praised by Marv Albert and Grant Hill on NBA TV, testing his mettle against the greatest players in the world.

Wednesday was just an exhibition, but Feldeine will get the chance to play in international games that matter, as the D.R. is one of 24 teams that qualified for the FIBA World Cup. They’ll begin play against Ukraine on August 30.

The U.S. will take on Finland in its first World Cup game, also on August 30. They’ll face the Dominican Republic again on September 3, as both teams have been placed into Group C, which also includes Turkey and New Zealand.

But Feldeine has already made his mark in professional basketball.

He currently plays for Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in the Spanish ACB league, which is widely considered the second-best league in the world. (Just ask ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla). He averaged 15.9 points per game for them last season, and Marv Albert even described him as “a fan favorite.”

According to an article by the New Haven Register’s Chris Hunn, he’s routinely stopped for autographs, watches fans walk by in his jersey, and poses with them in pictures. His success even earned him a workout with the Knicks last summer.

“I like it because it shows I’m doing a good job here. It’s a great feeling to see those things,” Feldeine told Hunn.

It’s also a great feeling for Quinnipiac alums to watch him play against the best of the best, living out his dream while simultaneously living the legend.

It’s not every day you see a Bobcat balling out against the greatest players in the world.

But if one was ever going to do it, it was going to be James Feldeine.

Now if only the Knicks would come to their senses…

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