Maryland’s Bruno Fernando has entered his name into the 2018 NBA Draft pool. Like Justin Jackson and Melo Trimble the two cycles prior, Fernando will test the process without an agent, maintaining the possibility of a return to College Park.
Fernando entering the draft isn't a huge surprise—he popped up on mock drafts sporadically during the season—and it’s less of one that he’ll preserve the opportunity to come back to school.
It took Fernando a while to get acclimated to the college game, but the 6’10 center turned in his best performances after the new year. He was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team, after earning two Freshman of the Week honors during the season. After Jackson and Ivan Bender went down for the season, Fernando was given heavy minutes in their stead. He produced, finishing his rookie season as Maryland’s best shot-blocker and rebounder—excluding Jackson—while also becoming a relied upon third-option on the offensive end, averaging 1.2 blocks and 6.5 boards to go with 10.5 points a night in 20 starts.
Fernando nailed 1 of 3 three-pointers on the year, but also exhibited a shooting stroke that could be another weapon with more consistency and confidence. He was solid out past 15 feet but, understandably, hesitant to pull from beyond the arc. He also faced a double team a couple times this season, improving at scoring and passing out of them each time. More comfort beyond the arc and operating out of double teams would open up the floor for Fernando to do what he does best.
Fernando loves to rattle rims. It doesn't matter how he has to get there, either. He’ll attempt to jump over and/or through defenders to terrorize the paint. His athleticism jumps off the page, making him a problem in the paint on both ends. He has good rim protecting instincts on defense, but needs to gain a little more patience and would avoid a lot of fouls.
If he gets an invite to the Draft Combine and dazzles scouts, he could be gone for good. Another year at school could be good for his development, but the allure of a payday is hard to deny. If Fernando ultimately returns, Maryland would return a force to be reckoned with in the paint. If not, Mark Turgeon will have four scholarships open, after having only one entering the offseason.