‘I like his positive attitude:’ Noah Fernandes bringing new light to Shockers lineup

Wichita+State+freshman+Noah+Fernandes+drives+past+Tulane%27s+KJ+Lawson+during+the+second+half+of+the+game+against+Tulane+on+Feb.+16+inside+Charles+Koch+Arena.

Marshall Sunner

Wichita State freshman Noah Fernandes drives past Tulane's KJ Lawson during the second half of the game against Tulane on Feb. 16 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Wichita State freshman Noah Fernandes has quickly adapted to his new role. At the start of the season, many, including head coach Gregg Marshall, weren’t even sure if Fernandes would step foot on the floor for the Shockers after a bone bruise left him sidelined for weeks.

But Fernandes prevailed. He worked his way back into the lineup and played his reserve role. Marshall said he has faith that the freshman can factor big into the program’s future.

“He’s not big at all, and I don’t think he’s as quick as he was when he first got here before the foot injury, but he has an extra gear that hopefully he’ll go back to,” Marshall said. “His stature’s more like Matt Brauer. He’s a little whip it kind of kid.”

A month ago, when the team started to struggle, an opportunity arose for Fernandes. After a vocal practice, he took on the challenge. Fernandes played the hardest out of any of the guards, and Marshall rewarded him by inserting him into the starting lineup against Central Florida.

“He’s practiced really well. That’s what I like, and I like his positive attitude,” Marshall said. “I like that he has remained positive and I’ve continued to try to encourage those guys that are down there with him, because I think they’re all going to be good players, but it’s hard to play more than five.”

After starting Fernandes in back-to-back games, the Shockers as a whole have seemed to get their mojo back. With Fernandes on the floor when starting, WSU has won both games and is outscoring opponents by 25 points.

Marshall said one thing that stands out about Fernandes is his boldness. That boldness showed in the first half of Sunday’s game against Tulane. Fernandes, who stands at 5-11, stepped in front of a ball-handler to take charge. Later in the half, the freshman forced a steal after a loose ball that led to a transition layup by Dexter Dennis on the other end.

Marshall Sunner
Wichita State freshman Noah Fernandes takes a charge during the first half of the game against Tulane on Feb. 16 inside Charles Koch Arena.

It’s the “Play Angry” strain Marshall wants to see in his players.

“He’s not putting up gaudy numbers, but he’s making plays that are effort plays — making plays that are toughness plays,” Marshall said during his weekly radio show. “I’ve really enjoyed watching him have some success.”

Overall, Fernandes has overcome struggles to get where he is. His never-give-up attitude has set him up for this late-season success.

“He just has a way of helping his team win,” Marshall said.