Maryland's Bruno Fernando Declares for 2019 NBA Draft; Will Hire an Agent

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 16, 2019

Maryland 's Bruno Fernando (23) celebrates during the final moments of the second half of a first round men's college basketball game against Belmont in the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA draft class just got deeper after Maryland star Bruno Fernando decided to test his skills at the professional ranks. 

On Monday, Fernando announced he will forgo his final two years of eligibility to play in the NBA:

He can still return to school, though:

Fernando arrived at Maryland two years ago with a lot of potential to unlock. He was rated as a 4-star recruit coming out of Florida's famed IMG Academy. 

Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon put Fernando in the starting lineup immediately. His size made him an impact player, as he averaged 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game as a freshman. 

After returning to school last year, Fernando continued to further develop his skills. The 20-year-old tied for 13th in the nation with 10.4 rebounds per game and increased his scoring average to 13.7 per contest. 

Turgeon told reporters prior to the NCAA tournament he saw dramatic improvement in Fernando's game from his freshman year to his sophomore campaign:

"I think about last year at this time. He had trouble catching passes. He had trouble finishing. He was always in foul trouble. He was emotional in the wrong way. 

"Now he can catch, now he can score against the double-team. He's been an all-league first-team defensive player. He'll stay out foul trouble. Been a great leader. There's been a lot of things he's improved on and continued to improve on as the season goes on. I've said it a lot this year, but he's one of the most improved players from one season to the next that I ever coached."

Looking at Fernando's NBA potential, B/R's Jonathan Wasserman has him ranked as the No. 21 overall prospect in this year's class:

"He's not a new-school big man, unable to stretch the floor or use the dribble, so teams won't run their offense through him. But his mix of power and athleticism should be effective for finishing and intimidation around the basket. And he should be able to add value as a post passer and second-unit rim protector."

Even though Fernando is at his best playing close to the basket, there's still room for his style on an NBA roster. Clint Capela is one of the most valuable assets on the Houston Rockets. 

If Fernando can turn into a Capela-esque player in the pros, whichever team drafts him will be happy.

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