Over the last few seasons, the Maryland Terrapins have quietly been the Big Ten’s most consistent program. The Terps have made the NCAA Tournament in four of the last five years and narrowly missed the NIT in the fifth season. The recent run also included two seasons with at least 27 wins and a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2016.
And although he wasn’t there for the entirety of the run, Bruno Fernando embodies Maryland’s current program really well. A supremely talented prospect that was really solid in college, but just not quite productive enough to warrant massive media attention. After two seasons with the program, Fernando is now taking his shot at the NBA.
But how high can Fernando get drafted? Let’s take a look.
There’s quite a lot to like about Fernando’s game. To start, he’s really athletic and holds his size and weight well. He’s not your traditional low post big man, but a lot of his weight sits low, so he can play in the low post pretty well. Add in a few nice post moves and he was one of the league’s tougher players to defend in the paint.
Fernando was also a monster on the boards and really productive at getting to the line. Those things typically come with a player of his size, but they’re things that should carry over to the next level. He was also top 100 in block rate last season and 11th in the league during conference play.
Given Fernando’s size, few teams will expect him to be an elite shooter on the next level, but shooting is definitely where Fernando’s game could use some improvement. He was remarkably good at the free throw line during his two seasons with the Terps, but contributed nothing from outside the arc. He’s going to have to figure out a way to be a threat from deep if he’s going to live up to his draft hype.
Fernando also had a tendency to disappear in games last season. He would come out of the gate red hot and fade down the stretch, or start cold, but recover in the second half. Though few players can be perfect for the entirety of a game, he’s going to need to figure out how to be more consistent. Some of this will come with experience.
There’s little debating that Fernando cannot land on a team that needs its big man to be an effective threat from three-point range. Even if Fernando dedicates some serious time to improve there, it’s not going to come overnight. Better fits would be teams looking for a low post presence and effective rebounding.
Projections have Fernando anywhere between the late lottery and the second round. Teams that appear to fit the mold would be the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Lakers. A lot will depend on how the board shakes out, but Fernando will probably hear his name called sooner rather than later.
Fernando really slipped under the radar in Big Ten play over the last two seasons. Despite being a potential lottery pick, he just never received the same hype as others. But expect him to receive plenty of attention on Thursday night as he could potentially be the league’s highest drafted prospect in 2019.