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Kevin Huerter turns heads at NBA combine to lead Maryland’s 3 participants

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Here’s the rundown of the combine’s first two days, featuring official measurements and other buzz.

Lila Bromberg | Testudo Times

A good chunk of the NBA Draft pre-draft process took place on Thursday and Friday, with combine measurements, testing and scrimmages getting out of the way.

Justin Jackson, who signed with an agent, declined to go through drills or 5-on-5 scrimmages because of his injury but got measured for the second straight offseason. Measurements is all Jackson would participate in, heading home before day two after experiencing lingering soreness, according to The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty.

Meanwhile, Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando, each testing the process for the first time, used combine action to showcase their pluses and build some buzz.

Huerter generated as much buzz as anyone.

The sophomore was one of the breakout prospects of the first day. He completed spot-up shooting drills, strength and agility testing and non-stationary shooting and competed in a scrimmage.

Huerter showcased his NBA range during stationary drills, going 3-of-5 from the top of the key and the left corner, 4-of-5 from the left break and perfect from the right break and right corner. He had a max vertical of 38" and also clocked in with the fifth-best three-quarter-court sprint, taking just 3.09 seconds.

The 6’7 marksman also made quite the impression during his first scrimmage, finishing with 11 points, and impressing by making plays within the flow of the offense while holding it down defensively. There's a growing belief that Huerter has worked his way into the first round of the draft. After a top showing on the first day, Huerter sat out the second scrimmage for rest. Huerter’s also been playing through a torn ligament in his shooting hand, which he said he suffered Feb. 18 at Northwestern, according Dougherty. He’ll take part of the medical testing portion of the combine on Saturday, but teams are apparently in the know.

DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony says Huerter might return to school even if given a first-round guarantee. Given his rising stock, and the money Jackson left on the table by returning, it would be hard to turn down, but he may stick to the original plan and return for another year to try to work his way into the lottery. He has a workout coming up with the Brooklyn Nets, then may take a trip West, according to Dougherty.

Fernando is still the hardest of the Terps to gauge. He clocked in at 6’9.75 in shoes, unsurprisingly the tallest of the three, and the largest wingspan. He showed some promise as a shooter during spot-up drills, but stayed inside during his first scrimmage. From NBA range, the center went 2-of-5 from the left break, 3-of-5 from the right break and the right corner and 4-of-5 from the top of the key and left corner.

Watching Fernando in his first scrimmage, he looked determined to make the simplest play. He roamed the court, hunting for a screen to set and showed some initial potential as a roll man. Fernando finished his scrimmage with eight points on-3 of-8 shooting, with four rebounds and a block.

He improved on his day one performance in the second scrimmage, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting and going perfect on four free throw attempts. He added three rebounds and two blocks. Fernando also showcased some of that signature energy Xfinity Center got used to, with an emphatic block and a monstrous jam on his reel, and also talking on defense with his team down a bunch.

A lot of the uncertainty around Fernando has to do with his turnovers freshman year. After day one, he said he wasn’t trying to show too much, and keeping it simple may be just what he needs to do. He’s worked out with the Hawks and Nets, and interviewed with the Thunder, Wizards, Bucks, Pelicans, Hornets, Lakers and Pistons at the combine, according to The Washington Post.

Measurables

Measurements were released for the NBA Draft Combine on Thursday, and everything shaped up about as expected with Maryland men’s basketball’s entries.

Jackson’s 7’3 wingspan, despite standing a shade under 6’7 in shoes, is still remarkable. Fernando’s tops that, though, at 7’4.25, good enough for eighth out of every prospect measured.

Here’s the full list of measurements:

Measure Bruno Fernando Kevin Huerter Justin Jackson
Measure Bruno Fernando Kevin Huerter Justin Jackson
Height w/o shoes 6'8.75 6'6.25 6'6
Height w/ shoes 6'9.75 6'7.25 6'6.75
Weight (Lbs) 233.2 194 229.4
Standing reach 9'1 8'5.5 8'9
Wingspan 7'4.25 6'7.5 7'3
Hand legnth (in.) 10 8.25 9
Hand width (in.) 9.5 8.5 9.5
Body fat % 5.25 8.6 8.9
NBA.com

Once the combine concludes on May 20, Huerter and Fernando will have until May 30 to decide whether to return to Maryland or stay in the draft. The way each are trending, there’s a possibility neither return; so the Terps will get a boost if either do, but will have to recruit fast if both say sayonara.