Maryland men’s basketball is off to a 5-0 start, which is pretty cool. One of their key contributors has been Bruno Fernando. The freshman center is coming off a game where he scored 18 points in 22 minutes, going 7-for-9 from the field. Fernando has proven to be an excellent inside scorer thus far, making 65.8 percent of his shots and racking up 11.2 points per game.
However, this post is not about Fernando’s scoring ability. It’s about his blocks.
Fernando has been averaging two blocks per game despite having played in less than 50 percent of Maryland’s minutes thus far. On a rate basis, he looks much better — he’s swatted 4.3 shots for every 40 minutes he’s spent on the court this season.
Fernando’s 4.3 blocks per 40 minutes are better than Damonte Dodd’s total of 4.1 from last year. It should be pointed out that Dodd’s stats included Big Ten play, meaning he faced tougher teams than Jackson State. Regardless, it’s exciting to see a freshman come in and make an immediate impact defensively.
Fernando has recorded a block on 10.7 percent of all defensive possessions when he’s been on the court. Nearly one out of every nine times the opponent has taken the ball don the floor, he’s punched it away before it can reach the basket. That clip ranks 43rd in the country, which doesn’t sound all that impressive, until you consider how many big men there are across college basketball.
None of Fernando’s blocks this season have gone out of bounds, either. While slapping the ball into the stands gets a crowd hyped up, the other team still has the ball afterward. By making blocks that keep the ball in play, Fernando gives his Terps teammates a chance to snag the rebound.
Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see if Fernando can keep getting blocks at this rate once Maryland starts to face higher quality teams like Syracuse and Purdue. If he can, then the rest of college basketball is about to be put on notice.