Skip to content

Family-oriented Rutgers men's basketball team motivated Noah Fernandes in his 5th year

Fifth-year guard Noah Fernandes provided leadership for the Rutgers men's basketball team in the 2023-2024 season. – Photo by Evan Leong

Though fifth-year guard Noah Fernandes only spent one year on the Banks, his veteran presence on the Rutgers men's basketball team was felt all season long.

Fernandes is different from your typical college basketball player. In addition to being a student-athlete, he is also a father. Balancing fatherhood, athletics and academics is a challenging task. Fernandes credits his Scarlet Knights (15-17, 7-13) teammates and coaches for helping him balance his many priorities.

"That was a big part of why I came here was the people,” Fernandes said. “Family-oriented people who know that whatever I had to handle with my son, they respect whatever was going on off the court."

Fernandes started his collegiate basketball journey at Wichita State, then transferred to UMass after his freshman year, playing three seasons in Worcester, Massachusetts. Before transferring to Rutgers, fans were well familiar with Fernandes. While playing for the Minutemen, he infamously hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to defeat the Knights 85-83 in the 2021-2022 season.

As a fifth-year player, Fernandes embraced his role as a leader. 

"I just try and be a good example for some of the young guys," Fernandes said. "You never know what your career will be like, what’s gonna happen. But you just gotta kind of stick to the script and just keep pushing it."

Fernandes carried this same persistent mindset throughout the season, doing whatever he needed to help Rutgers succeed. He began the season as the Knights’ starting guard for the first 14 games.

In a standout performance against Seton Hall in the Garden State Hardwood Classic, he scored a team-high 19 points, going 3-5 from three-point range. In this game, fans got a taste of the offensive juggernaut Fernandes can be — someone who could explode at any moment.

Around halfway into the season, Fernandes was moved to the bench and saw a decrease in minutes. Though he was a reserve, Fernandes always stayed ready. In a statement win against then-No. 11 ranked Wisconsin, he came off the bench to put up 17 points, going 5 for 5 from beyond the arc.

After the game, head coach Steve Pikiell had high praise for Fernandes.

"I'm just proud of him,” Pikiell said. “I love him. I believe in him. I'm thankful he's here and he can really shoot the ball. He did an unbelievable job today.”

Fernandes finished the season as a key reserve for Rutgers, giving the Knights a stabilizing veteran presence off the bench. He averaged 6.4 points per game, shooting a team-high 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Before his Senior Day game, Fernandes reflected on his college basketball journey with a sense of perspective and appreciation.

"Rather than looking on the downside of it … just look at what we’ve done to get here — what that process and the journey are, the people we met, and all that craziness," Fernandes said. "That’s how we have been trying to approach it — just be more proud and have some gratitude about what we’ve done."

For more updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Noah Ohayon's work, follow @Noah_Ohayon15 on X.

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe