CARLOS Fernandez has witnessed a stark transformation at Worcester Wolves since joining the club 18 months ago.
When the 6ft 6ins Spanish small forward arrived at the University of Worcester in August 2011, Paul James’ side had just finished ninth in the British Basketball League.
Within a year, they had enjoyed their best season by finishing third and now, as they prepare for this week’s home double header against Mersey Tigers and London Lions, they are again firmly cemented in the play-off places.
Fernandez, who is also studying for a masters in business, may not have always grabbed the headlines but he has been no less a part of that success.
“I love it here. I love the city and the club, like everybody around the Worcester Wolves,” he said. “I think they are making big efforts to step up and improve every year.
“When I first came here this was a team that wasn’t supposed to win, we weren’t expected to make the play-offs. Last year we stepped up and this year we have kept improving.
“When we came together on the first day of pre-season our goal was to improve what we did last year.
“We had some bad luck at the beginning of the year, especially when we didn’t have Sherrad Prezzie-Blue here. But now the goal is still the same, we try to improve and get into the top four.”
Fernandez, who graduated from Illinois Tech in America before a spell playing in his homeland, has also shown his versatility for Wolves.
Normally a small forward or shooting guard, he was drafted into the unfamiliar role of point guard for the recent championship games against Surrey Heat and Manchester Giants in the absence of Prezzie-Blue.
His efforts earned the praise of head coach Paul James and is further proof Wolves have players capable of adapting to situations.
“I’ve never played point guard before but the coach asked me if I could do it and I’m here to help the team wherever I can. I felt pretty comfortable,” Fernandez said.
“We have a few players who can help the team in many ways. I think we have enough talent offensively and defensively.
“I can play different positions as well and that helps the team because when somebody’s missing, like Prezzie these last two weeks, we can adjust well.”