Amongst a league known for it’s in-your-face trash talkers and animated super-stars, Feast (T-Wolves Gaming) brings a different energy to gameday. His friendly, ho-hum attitude towards teammates and competitors alike has garnered praise in the community; so much so that he won the 2019 Sportsmanship Award winner.
But make no mistake, Feast has a hunger for success that drives him like any other 2K professional. This week provides even more added motivation, as he faces his old team, 76ers GC, in the Finals on August 3rd. Despite all he’s accomplished this season, he knows this weekend will provide his biggest challenge yet.
Our digital correspondent Harris Rubenstein checked in on Feast’s mindset heading into the Finals, and his thoughts on the “sporadic”–if not incredible–T-Wolves Gaming season.
H: What’s this week been like for you, feeling nervous? You ready to play already?
F: I’m super excited. Obviously, against the 76ers, my former team, there is a lot of fire in me to beat them so the preparation has been kinda cool with the guys, but I’m ready to play.
H: Before we talk about your former team, let’s talk about your current one. We must talk about the incredible run you’ve been on. 3-6 at one point, 11-game win streak now, what’s it like to be a part of a run like this?
F: To be a part of this team is a blessing. From being 3-6 to 10-6 and now being in the Finals and the championship game, it’s amazing. Obviously (with Hood’s trade) and the coaching situation, it was a downtime for us earlier in the season. Bear kinda told us, “hey guys, keep playing, let’s keep our head up and keep playing the game.” To go the whole year and end with a 10-6 record, we kept getting better and didn’t let the season slip up. We ended up winning 7 straight games after losing to Cavs Legion GC, which was a heartbreaking loss by the way, but we won 7 straight, made the playoffs and swept 2 of the top teams in Kings Guard Gaming and Warriors Gaming Squad. Two teams with two top Center and Point Guard structures. It’s honestly a great feeling.
H: A little challenge for you here: If you were to narrow down your team’s run into one word, what would it be?
F: Inspirational, mainly because, if you look at last season, Knicks Gaming was the worst team in the league, but they won THE TICKET and then the championship in an amazing postseason run, but for us, it’s more inspirational because we didn’t win a tournament. We earned the playoffs by winning our last 7 games of the season. From being the 17 seed out of 21 teams to winning 7-straight to get the 4th seed, I think inspirational describes it. With all the early drama, to being a brand new team in the league to trying to find chemistry with JMoney coming in, to not winning THE TICKET but actually winning 7 straight games regular season games to get into the playoffs AND sweeping two top teams last week? It’s inspirational.
H: Let’s talk a little bit more about the team in general and your prep going into this week… are you prepping any differently heading into a 5-game series? Are you guys looking to toss in any new wrinkles?
F: Our preparation for Philly has been kinda…pure? There is no fake prep or anything like that. We’re actually watching film for every game that they have played the past few weeks. Trying to study how Steez plays, how ZDS plays, how Newdini plays, Radiant, the whole team. Trying to find player tendencies, who’s where, who’s bouncing for each quarter, just really trying to see how they play in certain sets. I’m actually taking notes right now on how to defend the pick and roll. They have Steez and Radiant, one of the top pick and roll duos in the league, so it’s up to me and Turn Up (TurnUpDefense) to box that up. On offense, they actually have a great defense. Trying to tell Bear to pick his spots even better, Bread is obviously a great defender, so he’ll be all over the court. Preparation has been to take care of the ball and be on that pick and roll.
H: What was it like to be a part of the 76ers organization last year in their inaugural year. You win THE TIPOFF, you seemed to have a pretty good unit. Was it a fun year overall with the franchise?
F: Last year was super fun. I love Philly. On draft day, they had us ranked as the 14th worst team in the league, so obviously our emotions were high for it, nobody had us winning or even coming out of the 1st round. We ended up beating our opponent by 30 and ended up winning the whole thing. I had a great time. It is a business, I fully understand that, and I love all of those guys off the court. Steez, who was my roommate, I love him to death. ZDS is my little brother, Dini is the greatest guy in the world, Radiant is a super cool guy and TFreshy, shouts to him not in the league this year, I had a great group of guys. We had a great coach in Jeff Terrell, he came in and drew up plays for us and had us playing at ease. He took us to a whole new level. I love Philly, but being here in Minnesota is cool. I do miss it at times, but I’m happy where I’m at now.
H: Is this vindication for you to be seeing them in the Finals after not being retained? Is there a chip on your shoulder going into this series?
F: Definitely. They actually faced us in THE TIPOFF tournament this season and they kicked our butts, so this is kind of our second coming against Philly. It’s crazy because they didn’t choose to keep me, I go to Minnesota and the next thing you know, I’m playing my former team in the championship series and a best-of-5. It’s kind of like fate, written in the stars, in a sense. I’m super excited for it obviously. I have that chip on my shoulder like you said. I’m ready to play, man.
H: I want to talk about your position change. You moved from your more natural position at Center where you were cooking for most of the year to Power Forward. JoJo took your spot, your offensive numbers take a hit, but the team seemed to rally around it. What was it like to take a step back just to help the team?
F: I’m a team-first player. I told the coach this season I wanted to play Center, that’s the role I wanted to play and then it panned out differently. We were 3-6, had a tough start to the season and then finally I went to the Sharp Rim (Sharpshooter Rim Protector Build) and JoJo went to the Pop Center (Sharpshooting Rebounder) and we won 7 straight games, 11 straight if you include playoffs. You can’t complain about that. For me, it’s easy. I’m a team-first player, I’m very selfless. Whatever role the team asks me to play, I’ll do it to the fullest of my potential. When they asked me to play Sharp Rim to defend the pick and roll better, it was an easy transition. I love playing defense, so actually being in the pick and roll on a faster build, I loved it more. Offensively, it’s around Bear, maybe a little too much. It’s our job to take weight off his shoulders at times, but I’m confident in his ability to score and our team’s spacing. Our defense got better, and it’s a win-win all around. 11 straight games, you can’t complain!
H: Another one-word question for you. If you were to summarize your first season with the T-Wolves into one word, what would it be?
F: Oof. That’s a really good question…I would say, sporadic.
H: Sporadic, interesting!
F: Bit of a weird word thrown at you, but it really has been sporadic. Like you said, we had a brand new team, tough start and we finished strong. It was an up-and-down year!
H: The Sportsmanship Award you won garnered a lot of conversation around the league with it being very well-deserved. What did picking up that honor mean to you?
F: Well, sitting there, I actually didn’t know I won the award. When they showed my face, I was like, “what the hell?” I didn’t know I had won it. Honestly, it’s the way I was raised. I was raised to have respect for others. I don’t talk a lot of trash, I try to be a humble player and a humble person on and off the court. Winning that award was a great honor for me. I don’t really care what people say about me, good or bad. I am how I am. I don’t try to please anybody, I just try to be the best person I can be whether I know you or I don’t know you. I’ll shake your hand, I’ll talk to you, give you any help, I’m just very outgoing. To actually have the league give me that standing ovation when I won the award, it was a cool feeling for sure. I don’t act how I act…I’m not fake with how I act, this is just how I am. Some people have said “Feast is too nice”, which is hard to believe. That’s just how I am honestly. I’m a super nice guy, so it’s hard for me to get mad at somebody. I’m always team-first, I try to be friendly towards others, that’s just how I am.
H: Good luck this week man.
F: Thanks so much Harris, I appreciate it.