The Miami Heat professional basketball team has signed Vashil Fernandez of Jamaica to the club. Fernandez, 24, who plays center, was the all-time top shot blocker at Valparaiso University where he played with the Crusaders for four years. He had 85 starts out of 131 game appearances and made an average of 4.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.21 blocks, and 19.8 minutes shooting 54.8 percent from the field. He led in blocks per game in the NCAA with 3.31 blocks per game average and received the title of Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons. Fernandez was born in 1992 and spent his early years in Jamaica in a house near Kingston that was home to 19 people. He was a student at Calabar High School. He didn’t begin playing basketball until he reached the age of 17. Upon moving to the United States, Fernandez attended the Princeton Day Academy in Maryland. He decided to play for the Valparaiso Crusaders after visiting the educational institution.
Fernandez was ineligible to play during his freshman year, but in 2014-2015, he was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 8.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game. He received an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA after that season, and as a senior won the Lefty Driesell Award for his defensive play. Fernandez was not drafted in the 2016 NBA draft, but signed with the Miami Heat on October 17, 2016. He married Bridget Eichner in May 2015 and has two daughters. He earned two Master’s degrees at Valparaiso, one in international economics and finance and another in international commerce and policy. The details of his contract with the Miami Heat were not released. He will wear Number 14 for the team.
Photo Source: Valparaiso University