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Juan Manuel Fernandez College Temple Conference Atlantic 10 Sport Basketball Position Point guard Jersey # 4 Class Junior Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight 180 lb (82 kg) Nationality Argentine Born July 22, 1990 (1990-07-22) (age 20) Río Tercero, Córdoba High school Dr. Alexis Carrel Career highlights Honors 2009–10 All-Atlantic 10 Honorable Mention 2010 Atlantic 10 Tournament MVP 2010–11 All-Atlantic 10 Third Team 2010–11 All-Atlantic 10 Academic Team 2011 Philadelphia Big Five Second Team Tournaments 2009 NCAA, 2010 NCAA, 2011 NCAA Juan Manuel "Lobito" Fernandez (born July 22, 1990 in Rio Tercero, Argentina) is an Argentine college basketball player with the Temple Owls men's basketball team who has completed his junior season. His father, Gustavo, was a point guard for a number of professional basketball teams in Argentina. Pepe Sanchez convinced Fernandez to play basketball at his alma mater, Temple University, and Fernandez joined the team in December 2008. As a sophomore, he was named Atlantic 10 Tournament Most Valuable Player. After struggling through a prolonged shooting slump as a junior, he hit an off-balance 18-foot shot with .4 seconds to play to defeat Penn State in the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Third Team. In addition to his college exploits, he led Argentina to a gold medal in the 2008 Under-18 World Championship. Contents 1 Early life 2 College career 2.1 Freshman 2.2 Sophomore 2.3 Junior 3 International career 4 Statistics 4.1 NCAA 5 References Early life Downtown Rio Tercero Fernandez was born on July 22, 1990 in Rio Tercero, Argentina to Gustavo Fernandez and Nancy Fiandrino.[1][2] His father was a point guard for a number of professional basketball teams in Argentina.[2] He earned the nickname "Lobito" (Spanish for "little wolf") after starring on a basketball team with a wolf mascot.[3] Juan Fernandez's little bother, also named Gustavo, fell out of a chair when he was a toddler and used a wheelchair for life. He is one of the top wheelchair tennis players in the world under the age of 18.[4] The family operates the Pinot Grigio restaurant in Rio Tercero.[2] At the urging of his father, Juan Fernandez began playing basketball when he was six years old. He described himself as a "fat little kid" who was more interested in being a soccer goalie at first.[5] When Fernandez showed star potential on junior club teams, he was given the "Lobito" nickname, while his father became known as "Lobo".[3] As a teenager, Fernandez was offered deals to play in the Spanish B and C league when he graduated from Dr. Alexis Carrel High School.[2][6] At the same time, he was considering playing college basketball in the United States. His mother went to Connecticut for six months to learn English, and she persuaded him that it would be a good place to be a student-athlete.[5] Pepe Sanchez, an Argentine basketball player who played college basketball at Temple University, offered some advice in an e-mail: "I'm not the kind of guy who preaches about what people should do. But when kids like Juan ask me, I tell them my two greatest experiences in basketball was playing for my college team and my national team -- the two times that money wasn't involved. It was about the chance to represent your school and your country. More than that, it just opened my mind to so much. "When I spoke with Juan, it just struck me he was the same and that college was the right situation to him. I told him regardless of what happens in basketball -- whether he plays in the NBA, in Europe, whatever -- going to college would make the biggest difference in his life."[4] Sanchez had recommended Fernandez to the coach of his alma mater, Fran Dunphy. Dunphy dispatched assistant Matt Langel to recruit Fernandez to Temple. On one recruiting trip, Langel drove for 10 hours on the backroads of Argentina searching for Fernandez, who was practicing with the national team instead of home in Rio Tercero as Langel had thought. After his official visit to the Philadelphia campus in September 2008, Fernandez signed his letter of intent.[5] He graduated high school in December, and enrolled at Temple.[2] College career Freshman At Temple, Fernandez drew immediate comparisons to Sanchez; he was dubbed "Pepe Sanchez with a jump shot." He chose Sanchez's jersey, number 4, but Fernandez said this was to honor his father.[4] Unfamiliar with the practice of lifting weights, Fernandez wore gloves to his first session, drawing the laughs of his teammates.[2] Against Kent State, Fernandez contributed eight points and four assists in his Temple debut, three days after arriving in the United States.[2][6] He scored a season-high 19 points on February 15, 2009, to power Temple past Duquesne 78-73.[7] The Owls reached the 2009 NCAA Tournament after winning the Atlantic 10 tournament title.[8] In 23 games, he averaged 5.5 points and 2.7 assists per game on the basketball court, and earned a 3.0 grade point average in the classroom.[4] Sophomore In his sophomore year, Fernandez was moved to shooting guard in the Temple starting lineup, a change that felt strange for him as he was used to playing point guard. He was still in frequent playmaking positions, and led the team in assists with 3.6 per game.[3] He increased his scoring average to 12.6 points per game, second on the team, and led the Atlantic 10 in three-point percentage (45.3%). Fernandez scored in double figures in 23 games.[6] On December 13, he netted a career best 33 points to upset local rival and third-ranked Villanova 75-65; he shot 7-for-10 from beyond the arc.[9] This earned him Philadelphia Big Five Player of the Week honors for the week of December 14.[6] As a result of his performance against Villanova and his 21 points versus Seton Hall, Fernandez was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on December 20.[10] In the Fordham game on January 23, 2010, he took a blow to the head and was forced to leave in the second half.[11] He missed the February 2 game against Richmond with post-concussive symptoms.[12] Fernandez became a fan favorite at Temple. Every time he made a three-pointer against Bowling Green, the Temple student section chanted "Ole, ole, ole!" Seton Hall fans were not so kind, mocking him with "Messi, Messi." Little did they realize that Lionel Messi was one of his favorite soccer players, and their comments only served as inspiration. On his return flights to Argentina, strangers frequently went up to Fernandez to congratulate him on his recent performances.[2] Fernandez helped Temple to a 29-5 season, capture a share of the Atlantic 10 conference regular season championship with a 14-2 record, and earn a third consecutive Atlantic 10 conference tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. He was named Atlantic 10 Tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring 18 points in the final versus Richmond.[13] In the NCAA Tournament, Temple was seeded fifth and matched up with 12 seed Cornell in the first round. Fernandez had 14 points, but his Owls were upset by the Big Red 78-65.[14] Following the season, Fernandez was an All-Atlantic 10 Honorable Mention selection.[15] Junior With the graduation of Luis Guzman, Fernandez switched back to his natural position at point guard in his junior campaign.[3] Fernandez was a preseason All-Atlantic 10 Second Team selection.[16] He was on the watchlist for the Bob Cousy Award honoring the top point guard in college basketball.[17] A shooting slump that lasted the majority of the season saw his field goal percentage drop to 35.5%, his three point percentage drop to 33.3%, and his scoring average drop to 11.2 points per game. He still led the team in assists, with 3.9 per game.[18] Fernandez did miss four games in the middle of the season due to a bone bruise in his knee, but the shooting slump was more devastating and caused him to consult a sports psychologist. One of the worst games of his career was in an Atlantic 10 Tournament loss to Richmond, in which he went 3-for-17 from the field and committed three turnovers. After the game Fran Dunphy convinced Fernandez that he had to take less shots and get his teammates involved.[19] Fernandez led Temple to a 26–8 record and a seven seed in the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. In the Round of 64, he hit an off-balance 18-foot shot with .4 seconds to play to defeat Penn State, 66–64, and finished with a season-high 23 points. In the timeout that preceded the shot, teammate Khalif Wyatt convinced coach Dunphy to draw up a play for Fernandez, despite his struggles during the season.[20] Fernandez finished with 14 points against San Diego State, but the Owls fell in double overtime.[21] He was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Third Team and Academic Team at the conclusion of the regular season and was a Philadelphia Big Five Second Team honoree.[22][23] International career Fernandez was a participant in the 2008 Under-18 World Championship representing Argentina. In six U18 matches, he averaged 8.4 points, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 17 minutes per game. In a victory over the United States squad in the World Championship game, he scored 16 points.[6] In the 2009 U19 World Championship, he averaged 8.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.[1] Statistics NCAA College statistics[6][18] Legend   GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage  RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG 2008–09 Temple Owls 23 0 19.6 .364 .353 .682 1.9 2.7 0.4 0.0 5.5 2009–10 Temple Owls 34 30 31.6 .427 .453 .847 2.4 3.6 0.9 0.1 12.6 2010–11 Temple Owls 30 29 31.8 .355 .333 .806 2.9 3.9 0.8 0.1 11.2 References ^ a b "Argentina 5 - Juan Fernandez". FIBA. Retrieved May 22, 2011.  ^ a b c d e f g h Armstrong, Kevin (January 1, 2010). "Owl Who Took Unusual Path Has the Shot to Match It". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved May 22, 2011.  ^ a b c d Winn, Luke (November 5, 2010). "Postcard: If Fernandez and Moore step up, Temple could go far". Sports Illustrated (Time, Inc.). Retrieved May 22, 2011.  ^ a b c d O'Neill, Dana (October 2, 2009). "Temple finds the road to Argentina". ESPN (ESPN Internet Ventures). Retrieved May 19, 2011.  ^ a b c Weiss, Dick (December 31, 2009). "Temple's Juan Fernandez conjures memories of another Owls great from Argentina". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 22, 2011.  ^ a b c d e f "2010–11 Men's Basketball Roster: #4 Juan Fernandez". Temple Owls. Temple University. Retrieved May 23, 2011.  ^ "Temple 78, Duquesne 73". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). February 15, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2011.  ^ "Christmas scores 29 points; Temple ends Duquesne's dreams of return to NCAA". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). March 14, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2011.  ^ "Fernandez drains 7 3-pointers to help Temple stun Villanova". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). December 13, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2011.  ^ "Atlantic 10 Notebook - December 20". Atlantic 10 Conference. CBS Interactive. December 14, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2011.  ^ "Temple overcomes slow start to beat Fordham for 6th straight victory". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). January 23, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2011.  ^ Tatum, Kevin (February 12, 2010). "Loss to Richmond leaves Temple's Dunphy wary". The Philadelphia Inquirer ( Retrieved June 4, 2011.  ^ "Temple holds off Richmond rally to claim another A-10 championship". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). March 14, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2011.  ^ "Cornell builds big lead, dominates Temple in first-round upset". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). March 19, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2011.  ^ "A-10 Announces Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams". Atlantic 10 Conference. March 7, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2011.  ^ "Temple Tabbed A-10 Favorites; League Announces Preseason Accolades". Atlantic 10 Conference. October 21, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010.  ^ "Nominees". Bob Cousy Award. Retrieved December 21, 2010.  ^ a b "Juan Fernandez Stats, News, Photos – Temple Owls". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 21, 2011.  ^ Moore, David Leon (March 19, 2011). "Temple's Juan Fernandez shakes slump at opportune time". USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2011.  ^ "Juan Fernandez drains late jumper to lift Temple to third round". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). March 17, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.  ^ "San Diego State needs two overtimes to put away Temple". ESPN. Associated Press (ESPN Internet Ventures). March 19, 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2011.  ^ "2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball All-Conference Teams" (PDF). Atlantic 10 Conference. Retrieved March 23, 2011.  ^ "Big 5 Announces 2010–11 Men's Basketball Award Winners". Philadelphia Big Five. April 13, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2011.