Sports Illustrated thinks Maryland’s Bruno Fernando is a first-round talent

The NBA Draft is nearing as the window for college players who declared without hiring agents to make a decision is closing. One player of particular intrigue for Terps fans is Bruno Fernando.

Sports Illustrated released their seventh version of the NBA Draft Big Board on Wednesday, ranking the top 100 college prospects for June’s NBA Draft. Fernando comes in at No. 22 rankings, which slots him as someone who wouldn’t have the prestige of a lottery pick, but would still have the honor of being taken in the first round.

According to SI’s Jeremy Woo, the Angolan center “is still extremely raw.” Fernando has a lot of potential and he has impressed pro scouts with his athleticism in the paint, possessing an “impressive defensive mobility and ability to elevate around the basket.”

“Fernando was often in foul trouble this season and didn’t see the lion’s share of playing time until the last month or so, and he’s more skilled than was able to show, although it’s fair to critique his feel,” Woo wrote.

Fernando’s upside has him floating around in the late picks of the first round, but according to Woo “his predraft workouts will be pivotal.” This is all if he decides not to come back to Maryland for his sophomore season.

Kevin Huerter, as of now, is a wild card. Huerter declared for the draft without an agent on Friday, two days after the newest rankings came out, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if his stock continues to rise for the next list.

Huerter emerged in his sophomore season, leading the Terps in three-point percentage (41.7 percent), while finishing second on the team in points per game (14.8), assists per game (3.4), and third in rebounds per game (5). Woo wrote that scouts were impressed by Huerter’s “fundamentally sound game.”

Huerter excels as a spot-up shooter, with his quick release and smooth shooting mechanics. He still has room to improve on the defensive end, but he can score and his body for a two-guard is something scouts like. However, it seems that Huerter is testing the waters instead of having legitimate aspirations of leaving for the draft this year.

Fernando and Huerter have until May 30 to withdraw their draft eligibility since they are underclassmen and have declared without an agent. While Huerter looks unlikely to leave for the pros, Fernando is more of an uncertainty now than ever.

If Fernando were to leave after one season, he would be Maryland’s first one-and-done since Diamond Stone and the program’s second one-and-done since the rule changed for the 2006 NBA Draft.

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