Rutgers men's basketball adds transfer Noah Fernandes to next season's roster
The Rutgers men’s basketball team made its first major transfer portal pickup of the offseason when UMass transfer Noah Fernandes announced his commitment to the Scarlet Knights today.
If junior center Clifford Omoruyi and senior guard Paul Mulcahy were to return to play on the Banks, that would leave Rutgers with just one open scholarship spot remaining for the 2023-2024 season.
Fernandes will add much-needed guard depth and shooting prowess to the Knights' roster. With Mulcahy declaring for the NBA draft, that makes Fernandes and senior guard Cam Spencer the only upperclassmen guard on the roster as of now.
Fernandes will help Rutgers space the floor due to his shooting skills and his ability to penetrate the paint with the ball in his hands. The player shot 45.2 percent from beyond the arc and 48 percent from the field in just 11 games last year.
In a 28-game sample size two years ago, Fernandes shot 36 percent from three-point range and 43.5 percent from the field.
Fernandes is also solid from the free-throw line, as he has a 76.6 percent career average from the charity stripe. He is also a strong player with the ball in his hands, being extremely quick in getting to the paint and crafty once inside the paint.
Fernandes' ability to shoot and handle the ball should help free up Spencer off-ball. Lineups with both players have a lot of offensive potential for the Knights.
Though he stands at just 5-foot-11, Fernandes is a prolific passer. He has approximately a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio, and he is good at finding open shooters on the perimeter and finding open forwards down low.
Fernandes is also a clutch player that likes to have the ball in his hands at the end of games, which is something Rutgers was missing last season. The Knights should be well aware of this skill, as Fernandes hit a game-winning three-point shot against Rutgers two years ago. In the Big Ten, where many games are decided by one possession, Fernandes has the chance to hit some big shots for the Knights.
With all these offensive skills, Fernandes should immediately bolster an offense that had just the 151st-best adjusted offensive efficiency in the nation last year.
One concern with Fernandes, though, is his history of injuries. He missed most of last season with an ankle injury and has never played a full season of games in his college career so far.
Fernandes is rated a four-star transfer portal player and the 51st-best player in the transfer portal. He seems to have already bought into the culture that head coach Steve Pikiell has built on the Banks.
"I chose Rutgers because of the winning culture that coach Pikiell has built," Fernandes said. "Being a competitor, you always want to play against the best, and the Big Ten is one of the most challenging conferences in college hoops. The atmosphere and campus is amazing, and I’m excited to be joining the family!"
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