A new journey begins

O’Shae Fernanders will play for Mt. Tabor’s Spartans this year.

A new journey begins
August 29
02:30 2019

The Chronicle will have a series of articles following Fernanders throughout his freshman year

I have done countless articles about young athletes making the transition from one level to the next, but never followed up with those athletes to see how well they fared on the next level. An idea was given to me that I should chronicle, no pun intended, a young athlete’s journey throughout his entire freshman year in high school to see the ups and downs they endure.

I thought that was a very good idea, but I did not know what athlete to reach out to. Luckily enough, I was connected with a young man who was eager and ready to share his story.  

O’Shae Fernanders is a freshman at Mt. Tabor High School. He was a standout basketball player for Walkertown Middle School and looks to make a name for himself in the Spartans’ programs. The goal of this series of articles is to highlight Fernanders’ thoughts and goals as he navigates his first year of high school on the court, in the classroom, and beyond. 

Fernanders, and his father Chad, recently sat down with me to discuss their thoughts on the upcoming year and his journey up to this point in his career.  

Fernanders became attracted to the game of basketball when his father brought him a Lil Tykes goal to play on as a kid. His first love was football, but he quickly transitioned to basketball once he began playing the sport.

“My favorite part about playing basketball is the energy, because it’s fun and you can be yourself on the court,” said Fernanders. “Basketball was new, and you know when you try something new, it shows you something that the other sports didn’t.”

Fernanders had a lot of success on the middle school level playing for Walkertown. He knows the level of competition will be drastically higher in high school, especially playing for coach Andy Muse at Mt. Tabor.

“I feel like I need to work a lot harder, because I’ll be playing under Coach Muse,” he said. “You have to have a different mindset, because he wants you to play within his system and if you do that, you will have Coach Muse’s attention.

“Overall for me, I think high school is going to be a lot better than middle school, because you have more freedom on the court. I just think I need to pick up my work ethic.”

Not to sell himself short, one of Fernanders’ goals is to make the JV team. If he were to be selected for the varsity team, he would put in the necessary level of work to achieve adequate time on the court.

“I feel like I have to get the level of respect from certain upperclassmen, because my temperament is not for everyone, so I feel I need respect from certain players,” he continued.

Winning the Lash/Chronicle Tournament, winning the conference and having a better record than last year’s JV team are things that Fernanders wants to check off his to-do list by the time his freshman season is over.

As a parent, Chad Fernanders noticed the talent in his son at a young age, he said. Mr. Fernanders did not want to force the game on his son, but instead waited until O’Shae began to take the game seriously.

“Lately he has been really accepting the challenge,” Fernanders said about his son. “He has been in the gym working on his muscle mass and just getting his mind, body and soul right.”

Fernanders started his AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) career with Team BOND, but moved to the Winston Lake Lakers, followed by the Winston-Salem Wolverines. The father/son combination enjoyed a lot of success as player and coach, with young Fernanders taking on more of a leadership role as his game matured.

“What I have tried to get him (O’Shae) to understand is, if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing,” said Mr. Fernanders. “He may not understand a lot of things that I do or that I have done now, but I am not doing them for now, I am doing it for later on.”

According to Mr. Fernanders, O’Shae has solidified himself as a prolific scorer, so his challenge to his son was to get better on the defensive end of the floor. Fernanders said he just wants his son to become a complete player, so he does not have to score to affect the game in a positive way.

On the high school level, Fernanders has now challenged his son to attempt playing another sport along with basketball.  

“Whether it’s track, volleyball or whatever, I want him to play another sport, because one sport carries over into the other sport,” he said.  

With Forsyth County being a school-of-choice county, Fernanders’ parents took some time to decide where they wanted him to play. With his father being an East Forsyth alum and his mother a Mt. Tabor alum, they were torn as to where to send him. After careful consideration, they decided upon Tabor.

It’s not all about athletics for Fernanders, either. Mr. Fernanders says his son must maintain his grades in order to play basketball.  

“I know he can hit a lay-up, but I need to see him do it in the classroom as well,” said Mr. Fernanders. “Like I said, I think he is up for the challenge.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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