Continuing the tradition of Valparaiso men’s basketball players representing their native countries at the highest level, current Crusader Vashil Fernandez (Kingston, Jamaica/Princeton Day [Md.] Academy) made his senior debut for the Jamaican national team on Tuesday evening against the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2012 FIBA Men’s Central American and Caribbean Basketball Championship (Centrobasket).
Fernandez is the youngest member of the 12-man Jamaica squad for the 2012 Centrobasket tournament, which features a pair of current NBA players in Jerome Jordan and Samardo Samuels, as well as Patrick Ewing Jr. Fernandez did not play in Jamaica’s opening win over Costa Rica on Monday before making his debut against the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday, playing two minutes and grabbing a rebound in the Jamaican victory. He did not see action Wednesday in Jamaica's loss to the Dominican Republic.
Jamaica concludes play in its group Thursday evening against Mexico, needing a win to advance into the Centrobasket semifinals. A victory would also guarantee Jamaica its highest-ever finish at Centrobasket, topping its fifth-place finish from 2010. If it advances into the semifinals, Jamaica also will be in consideration for a berth in the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship.
Fernandez becomes the second Valpo player in program history to suit up for the Jamaica national team, joining former Crusader Michael Rogers. Fernandez is also the second player on the current roster to represent his country at the highest level internationally, as Ryan Broekhoff made his senior debut for Australia earlier this month. In all, 13 former or current Crusader men’s basketball players have seen action for their respective countries’ national team.