Maryland basketball’s Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando have until May 30 to decide whether they will enter the NBA Draft or stay in College Park. And after the NBA Draft Combine, it would be fair to say Huerter seems more likely to stay in the draft than Fernando.
At the combine, Huerter made the most noise of the trio and earned no shortage of attention for his performance. In Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft, they have Huerter being taken with the 18th pick by the San Antonio Spurs, a drastic change from a few months ago when some speculated if his decision of declaring for the draft was a good idea.
Playing with an injured finger in his shooting hand, Huerter was perfect from the NBA break right and corner right shots in the spot up shooting drill. He made 87.1 percent of his shots in the on the move 15 non-stationary shooting drill, which was second overall in the combine. The strong performance in those drills gave Huerter a chance to prove he can score in multiple ways.
At one point during drills, Huerter made 15 straight threes, impressing many of the NBA scouts in attendance.
The only thing Huerter did that was particularly underwhelming was struggle in his scrimmage. He went 2-for-7 on threes, scoring nine points in 25 minutes and two seconds of playing time.
On Tuesday, Huerter worked out with the Brooklyn Nets and according to reports, he will work out with the Utah Jazz on the 28th. His draft stock is rising, but if he chooses to come back to Maryland for his junior year, he could improve his stock and become a lottery pick.
In addition to showing nice versatility in the 5 on 5, Huerter is also testing really well athletically. Has the best 3/4 court sprint time (2.96). Hearing he loves school, and a 1st round promise may not suffice to stay in. May return to try and be a lottery pick next year. https://t.co/t2Mb5e9fFi
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2018
Fernando did well for himself in Chicago, but not nearly as well as Huerter. He scored eight points in his first scrimmage with four rebounds and a block and followed up that with a 10-point performance that included three rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Notably, he only shot one three-pointer in his two games, missing that lone attempt. If Fernando can reliably knock down threes, his draft stock as a center in the modern NBA would rise. After all, this is now a league where elite centers like Joel Embiid average over three attempts from deep per game.
Fernando has much more raw talent than Huerter, having only played one season in college. The potential is there, but he could end up like other Maryland one-and-done Diamond Stone or former No. 5 pick Alex Len, who both showed a lot of potential but ended up stalling out early on.
Staying in College Park might be Fernando’s best option due to the excess of big men in this year’s draft and because his draft stock for next year is much expected to be much higher. With one more season of college under his belt, he will develop and mature more as a player, hopefully refining his game enough to attract more pro scouts.
As of now, Huerter seems much more likely than Fernando to leave, but it still seems as though Terps fans will need to keep waiting to see what next year’s team will look like next year.