There is now an NBA team with three Terps on its roster.
Maryland center Bruno Fernando was selected as the No. 34 pick in the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and then traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He is the first Angolan player ever drafted.
Fernando was predicted by many to go in the first round, but slipped to the second. If he had gone in the first, the Terps would have had a player taken in the first round of both the NBA and NFL drafts for the second consecutive year. Instead, he joins last year’s first-rounder, Kevin Huerter, and former Terp Alex Len in Atlanta. The Hawks gave up their 57th pick and two future second-rounders to land him.
Fernando had an impressive sophomore season that caught the eyes of teams. He averaged a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, as well as 1.9 blocks. He also shot 60.7 percent from the floor and 77.9 percent on free throws.
The big man tested the draft waters season, but decided to return to College Park after receiving feedback from scouts. The year made all the difference as Fernando improved his game in every aspect and diversified his shot, adding fadeaway jumpers, spin moves and hook shots into the mix. He scored 3.3 more points per game, added 4.1 rebounds per game, 1.3 assists per game and nearly doubled his block total.
Now he’ll have to battle his way to prove he belongs on an NBA roster. But if he does so, he should have a shot to make an impact in the league, joining a roster that features Huerter, Len, point guard Trae Young, big man John Collins and No. 4 overall pick De’Andre Hunter.