After two seasons with Maryland basketball, Bruno Fernando is officially turning pro.
The 6’10 center declared for the NBA Draft last month, and announced Wednesday afternoon that he is remaining in the draft, forgoing the remainder of his college eligibility.
THANK YOU MARYLAND FOR EVERYTHING. ❤️❤️ .— Bruno Fernando™ (@BrunoFernandoMV) May 1, 2019
I LOVE YOU GUYS FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. pic.twitter.com/DNZ48IQ34m
Fernando played in 64 games and made 53 starts for the Terps, his energy and passion on full display in nearly every contest. The former four-star recruit showed flashes in his freshman season, averaging 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He tested the NBA waters that spring, but ultimately returned to College Park.
That decision paid off in a big way. Fernando averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, tossing up 22 double-doubles as a sophomore. He earned First Team All-Big Ten honors and recorded double-doubles against Belmont and LSU in the NCAA Tournament. Maryland came up just short against the Tigers, falling in the Round of 32.
Fernando is a likely first-round pick, although he seems more likely to go in the 20s than the lottery. He might be just a role player as a rookie, but Fernando’s game should translate well to the next level. He’s got NBA size and athleticism, and while his jump shot wasn’t on display often in College Park, his range extends beyond the three-point line and there’s a lengthy history of big men stretching out their range in the pros.
“Bruno and I have gathered a lot of information and based on those conversations we are excited about his draft prospects,” head coach Mark Turgeon said in Maryland’s press release. “I know this was a difficult decision for Bruno because of how much he loved being in College Park. He fully embraced the Maryland experience and loved the fans just as much as they loved him. I’m incredibly proud of the player and, more importantly, the man Bruno has become during his two years here at Maryland. His work ethic and drive to succeed are second to none. We wish him the very best as he pursues his dream at the next level.”
Maryland will return 6’10 power forward Jalen Smith next season and bring in a pair of rookie big men in Makhi and Makhel Mitchell. The frontcourt will also include Ricky Lindo and Joshua Tomaic. With Fernando’s departure, the Terps also officially have one more scholarship open, and Mark Turgeon has a clear plan for it. Chol Marial, a 7’2 center, visited Maryland last week, and despite his injury history, his talent would make him an exciting addition.
But Fernando, as he proved time and time again, was special. He brought so much to Maryland, and it’ll all be missed.