Steve Pikiell and the Scarlet Knights received fantastic news on April 13th as senior Massachusetts point guard Noah Fernandes (pronounced “Fer-nan-dees”) announced he is transferring to Rutgers for his final season of eligibility. After reeling in sharpshooting guard Cam Spencer last season, Rutgers adds a point guard that can create his own shot - and nail it.
Fernandes played 11 games last season before missing the final 15 games due to a calf injury but is expected to be fully healthy this summer. In his 11 games with Umass, Fernandes filled up the stat sheet, averaging 13.1 points per game on a career-high 48% shooting (50% on twos, 45.2% on threes, 64% on free throws) along with 4.1 assists, 2.2 turnovers, 1.3 steals and 2.5 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per game (courtesy Umass Athletics).
In 28 games two season ago, Fernandes shot 36 percent from three-point range and 43.5 percent from the field. He is also reliable from the charity stripe, posting a 76.6 percent career average.
The 5’11 Fernandes adds another speedy guard that should help Rutgers compete against the more guard-heavy play found outside of the Big Ten conference that teams like FAU and Miami used to great success in the NCAA tournament this past March. Rutgers hasn’t had this speed at the guard position since Geo Baker and Jacob Young ran the floor together.
Fernandes is also reliable from the free-throw line, compiling a 76.6 percent career average from the charity stripe. Along with crafty rising sophomore Derek Simpson, the Knights now have two speedy guards that can create their own offense and also facilitate for others. Like Simpson, Fernandes can blow by defenders and get into the paint, which opens up opportunities for everyone.
Center Clifford Omoruyi, assuming he returns, is the one likely to benefit the most from Fernandes running the point, as Rutgers once again has a guard who can break down defenses, make the mid range jumpers, and dish to his big teammates down low when opposing defenses overcommit.
Point guard Paul Mulcahy, who is also testing the NBA waters along with Omoruyi, would almost certainly move off the point if he decides to return. Fernandes and Simpson will run the Scarlet Knights offense this coming season. Assuming commits Baye Ndongo and Jamichael Davis have signed their national letters of intent this past week, Rutgers now has one open scholarship for next season and will most likely attempt to add another big man for depth.
Here’s a clip of some of Fernandes’s highlights: