Bruno Fernando will return to Maryland basketball for the 2018-19 season, the program announced Monday.
Bruno Fernando withdraws from 2018 NBA Draft, returns to Maryland
Bruno. Is. Back.
Bruno Fernando will return to Maryland for his sophomore season!
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) May 28, 2018
“I’m appreciative for the opportunity to go through the NBA draft process,” Fernando said in a press release. “I received a great deal of feedback over the past six weeks that has been beneficial in making this decision. After significant discussions with my family and Coach Turgeon, I have decided to return to Maryland for my sophomore year. I’m excited to continue my education and look forward to a great season. I can’t wait to get back on campus, see my teammates and play in front of the great fans at XFINITY Center this fall.”
Fernando emerged as a more legitimate threat late in the season as Maryland battled a multitude of injuries to front-court players. The Terps finished the season 19-13, missing out on both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.
Maryland’s Kevin Huerter also declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, but he has not yet decided if he’s returning to school. At least one outlet has predicted Huerter to be a first-round pick in the draft as Sports Illustrated has projected him to be selected No. 18. He has until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. ET to decide.
Fernando earned an invite to the 2018 NBA Draft Combine, but the feedback he received apparently didn’t spur him to continue pursuing the draft process. Reports that Fernando hired an agent before the combine turned out to be false, and the center remained visible on campus throughout the spring.
The big man averaged 10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots as a freshman. He’ll look to build on those numbers as his college career continues in College Park, Md.
“I’m happy that Bruno went through the process and was able to gather the necessary feedback to make an informed decision on his future,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “I think Bruno learned a lot during this process, and it will only make him a better basketball player. We’re really excited to have his energy and passion in our locker room next year.”
Why Bruno Fernando made the right call by going back to school
With forward Justin Jackson gone, Fernando can slide into the role of the Terps’ top front-court player. 7-foot-1 center Michal Cekovsky won’t be back, either, further freeing up minutes for Fernando. The Luanda, Angola, native missed more than three weeks of preseason practice with a sprained left ankle, as well as another two games in December with a sprained right ankle. He didn’t fully find his footing until the final nine games of the season, when he scored at least 18 points on three occasions. With a healthy season as one of the Terps’ main options, Fernando can bolster his draft stock even more.