UMass men's basketball team adding one player, losing two through transfer portal
The lack of an NCAA Division I basketball tournament did a lot to slow down the beat of college basketball. It has not, however, slowed down the NCAA basketball transfer portal.
At the University of Massachusetts, the school could have installed a revolving door for the most recent comings and goings. Two members of coach Matt McCall's team in 2019-20 have elected to enter the portal. In return, the Minutemen will get another transfer student.
Noah Fernandes, a 5-foot-11 point guard, will be heading to UMass after spending his freshman year at Wichita State. While Fernandes will be a Minuteman, guards Keon Clergeot and C.J. Jackson both announced they had entered the portal.
Fernandez, a native of Mattapoisett, will become the seventh UMass player to have played for current UMass assistant coach Tony Bergeron at Woodstock Academy. According to his Wichita State biography, he reportedly chose Wichita State over offers from UMass, DePaul, Rhode Island, Temple and Saint Bonaventure.
While UMass cannot discuss the transfer, Fernandes posted the following on Instagram: "First off I would love to thank the Wichita State Coaching staff, my teammates, and a special thanks to Shocker Nation. But with that being said, I'm proud to announce that I will be COMING HOME and playing with Massachusetts on my chest. Lets go!"
It remains to be seen if Fernandes will seek a waiver or sit out this coming season. If he sits, he would still have three years to play.
Fernandes averaged 1.4 points in 10 minutes per game at Wichita State last year. He had a season-high seven points in a game against Central Florida in February.
He was one of six players who transferred out of Wichita at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
"He's not putting up gaudy numbers, but he's making plays that are effort plays, making plays that are toughness plays," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said on one of his radio shows, reported on by the Wichita Eagle. "I've really enjoyed watching him have some success. He just has a way of helping his team win."
And if the name Noah Fernandes sounds familiar to Berkshire County basketball fans, there's a reason. As a freshman at Old Rochester High School, Fernandes scored 20 points in a 61-47 win over Hoosac Valley.
"Fernandes hit a couple of big threes. ... For a freshman, that kid is a pretty good player," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said after that game. "It's a state final. You're not going to see any slouches."
UMass coach Matt McCall, speaking on a video posted by the program on Twitter, said that the program was going to move forward and improve "in ever aspect of our program, so we can chase championships in the Atlantic 10."
McCall previously announced the signings of Cairo McCrory, a 6-foot-5 forward from Hartford, Conn., via Woodstock Academy, and 6-foot-2 guard Javohn Garcia of Brewster Academy.
"We've got signing day coming up on April 15," McCall said in the video, "with some great new additions to our team that our fans will be extremely excited about."
One of those names could be 6-foot-8 power forward Dyondre Dominguez of Providence, also via Woodstock. Another name might be Fernandes.
The Minutemen, who were 14-17 this season, do say goodbye to Clergeot and to Jackson.
Clergeot was one of McCall's first recruits. Clergeot transferred to UMass from the University of Memphis. He played in 30 of UMass' 31 games, starting 16. He averaged five points per game.
The guard from Winter Haven, Fla., announced his decision on Twitter.
"I would like to thank Coach McCall and the coaching staff for the opportunity to come and play for this great university," Clergeot wrote on Twitter. "I also want to thank my teammates for always rocking with me. After discussing it with my family, I have decided that I will not be returning for my last year. I wish nothing but continued success for UMass and the basketball team."
Jackson was part of the highly-touted freshman class that came in for the season. The 6-foot-2 guard from Atlanta quickly, however, fell in behind Clergeot and freshmen Sean East II and Kolton Mitchell in the guard rotation. Jackson played in 15 games, started one, and averaged only five minutes per contest. He was the only player who participated in 15 or more games to have averaged single-minute figures.
With John Buggs III due back from the foot injury he suffered four games into the season and T.J. Weeks set to return after having mid-season stomach surgery, there were a lot of guards. Add to the mix Garcia and now Fernandes, and there was no room at the proverbial inn.
"First, I would like to thank all of the coaches and staff at UMass for allowing me to be part of this program and everything that comes with it," Jackson wrote on Twitter. "Secondly, I would like to give a s/o to all my teammates and friends I've made over the last year. The bonds will last a lifetime. Lastly, I'd like to thank the University of Massachusetts and the entire community for all the support they've given me throughout the year. After talking it over with my family, we've decided it's in my best interest to enter the Transfer Portal and finish my playing career elsewhere.
"MY RECRUITMENT IS NOW OPEN."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.