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Rob Potter | Democrat

Geraldo Fernandez, center, was one of eight sophomores on the SCCC men’s basketball team honored on Feb. 15 at halftime of the team’s final home game of the season. Pictured with Fernandez are Coach Kevin DeVantier, left, and Athletic Director Chris DePew.

Aiming to win

By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE — February 26, 2010 — Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Geraldo Fernandez and his Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals teammates will play a quarterfinal game against Suffolk-Selden Community College in the Region XV Men’s Basketball Tournament at Westchester Community College in Valhalla.
After winning the Mid-Hudson Conference (MHC) Tournament championship last weekend, Fernandez and his teammates are hoping to win the Region XV title and therefore qualify for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship Tournament which will be held on March 11, 12 and 13 at SUNY Delhi.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore is one of the Generals’ starting forwards. But he has taken a different path to SCCC than his teammates.
“My teammates call me ‘The Old Man,’” Fernandez said with a laugh. “I’m 24 and all of those guys are 19 or 20.”
Fernandez graduated from Monticello High School in 2003 and was a key member of the Panthers’ basketball teams which won Section IX championships in 2002 and 2003. He enrolled at SCCC and played for the Generals for a few games in the 2004 spring semester.
But when his mother became ill, Fernandez decided to enter the workforce to help with the family finances. He became a counselor at New Hope Community.
Next month, he will mark six years at New Hope. He began as a regular Direct Support Professional (DSP) before being promoted to his current position of Senior DSP.
Thankfully Fernandez’s mother is doing better.
He is also doing fine, carefully balancing school, work, basketball and family life.
Fernandez is majoring in Sports Management at SCCC and had a 3.4 GPA for the recently completed fall semester.
“I have a very busy schedule,” he said. “It’s school, work and practice. It’s definitely tough, but they are things that need to be done.”
He also finds time to spend with his daughter, Geliana Fernandez, who will celebrate her third birthday on March 27.
“I get to see her every day,” the proud father said. “I love my daughter and basketball.”
Fernandez has loved playing basketball since his childhood and he is very happy to be part of a Generals team which has a 28-1 record and won both the MHC regular season and tournament titles.
“I enjoy playing on this team,” he said. “We have a lot of talent from 1 to 12 on the roster. We are a very deep team.”
His teammates, Coach Kevin DeVantier and Assistant Coach Gregg Semenetz are all part of Fernandez’s support system.
“I have a great deal of support from the people at my job, my teammates and coaches,” Fernandez said. “It’s like one big family.”
And that extended family is proud of Fernandez.
“Geraldo is what junior college basketball is all about,” DeVantier said. “It’s about guys getting second chances and making the most of them. He has worked very hard.
“He really values the entire college experience and he has been a great team leader,” DeVantier added.

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