Chris Feggans plays basketball for Girard Academic Music Program, an undersized team that has struggled in the win column and missed out on the playoffs in each of the athlete’s first three seasons.
But Feggans will still leave GAMP feeling like a winner.
The 17-year-old made sure of that earlier this month by scoring 1,000 career points and setting a new single-game scoring record for the team.
The only thing missing is a Public League playoff berth, which the senior guard believes is still within reach for his 3-12 squad.
Even if GAMP doesn’t make it to the postseason, Feggans, of 22nd Street and Snyder Avenue, will have had a rewarding year.
On Jan. 2, his Pioneers returned from winter break to play Engineering and Science. Heading into the game, Feggans knew he needed eight points to become the third scorer in school history to reach 1,000. Sounds easy, but the guard played the entire first half without scoring his needed number.
The moment finally came with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
"It definitely took longer than I planned," Feggans said before Friday’s practice. "I guess everything happens for a reason. They stopped the game and gave me the ball.
"It’s at home sitting somewhere my mom can look at it," the athlete added.
Coach Art Kratchman will take back the ball — just for a short time — to have his star player’s career totals painted on the keepsake.
"I feel good for him," Kratchman said. "It’s a nice milestone. Only quality players can do something like that."
Three, to be exact. Tom Catlett and David Spady, both 1994 graduates, are the other two members of the club. With Feggans averaging 21.6 points per game, it’s feasible that he could leave GAMP as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
The senior already owns the Pioneers’ single-game scoring record, which he set in last Thursday’s 97-65 loss to Strawberry Mansion. Feggans finished the game with 40 points, topping Catlett’s mark of 37. In most high-school games, that point total would be tops, but Mansion’s Maureece Rice put on a scoring clinic of his own with 53 points, which included a school-record 10 three-pointers.
Before he graduates, Feggans is hoping to score 41 points or more to match his father’s best performance at the Air Force Academy.
The player is a leader in more than just points, as he showed at Friday’s practice.
While Feggans was giving an interview, his teammates were busy running 10 laps around the basketball courts at Guerin Rec Center, 16th and Jackson streets. By the time the player was done talking, the rest of his team was on the court practicing. Without having to be told by his coach, Feggans resumed his laps until all 10 were complete.
"He is a great leader," Kratchman said. "I remember one practice he wasn’t here because he had a singing commitment. Practice was bad.
"It always helps when your best player is your hardest worker."
About that singing commitment: Feggans has no intention of trying out for American Idol or Star Search. All students at GAMP are required to participate in a musical activity. The player sees his future in college and basketball.
So far, the guard is getting mostly Division III and some Division II interest from Cabrini, Albright, East Stroudsburg and Moravian. Kratchman has so much faith in his star player, he believes Feggans can play on the Division I level.
"Some people are missing out on him," the coach said. "Some Division I schools should be looking at him."
Feggans, who is considering a career in accounting, said he will leave that decision in God’s hands.
He knows that much like his team, he is viewed as an underdog by prime college recruiters. Other city schools like St. John Neumann, Roman Catholic and Simon Gratz regularly turn out high-level college players, but tiny GAMP struggles to attract height and talent. At 6-foot-1, Feggans is one of the tallest players on the team.
Including this season, Feggans and his teammates have a mark of 10-71 over the last four years.
Last season, the Public League realigned its divisions based on school enrollment, which helped the Pioneers to win four games, doubling the previous year’s output. If GAMP could double last year’s victories, Feggans and his teammates could end up contending for one of the six playoff spots for which 18 teams are vying.
"I don’t see any reason [we can’t make the playoffs]," the athlete said. "We definitely have the potential to win games."
After watching his star guard progress over the last four seasons, Kratchman knows the Pioneers are in good hands.
"He is getting better in every aspect of the game," the coach said.
Public League Division D
Standings (through Jan. 15)
Prep Charter 0-5