Bruno Fernando NBA Draft Projection: Latest Mock Drafts & Maryland Forward’s Stock

Getty Bruno Fernando #23 of the Maryland Terrapins drives on Brady Heiman #45 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Type up “Bruno Fernando Dunk,” and you will be provided with a litany of riches of the Maryland sophomore rattling the rim against various unfortunate foes. There’s this one. Or this one. Maybe these two?

He also knows how to use these slams as a tone-setter. In the second half of a 60-45 road victory over Nebraska, he emphatically finished over Cornhusker forward Tanner Borchardt. He came within inches of stomping on Borchardt, providing a statement that helped fuel a double-digit road win.

For the year, the 6-foot-10, 240-pounder from Angola has averaged a double-double, notching 14.3 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. He has reached double figures against some of the best defenses in the nation, including Virginia (14 points), Michigan (12 points) and Michigan State (12 points). He also tallied 25 points against Indiana and their star forward Juwan Morgan back on Jan. 11.

He gets a chance to prove himself Sunday against Michigan’s Jon Teske in a rematch of a 65-52 loss.

NBA scouts are enamored with his tantalizing athleticism and potential. Let’s take a look at his draft projections and potential professional destinations.

Bruno Fernando NBA Draft Projections & Mock Draft

The most recent mock draft from Rob Dauster of NBC Sports places Fernando at the No. 19 spot. He chooses to praise the big man’s improved passing from out of the post.

I’m not sure there is a player in the country that has improved a skill this season more than Bruno Fernando has improved his passing ability from his freshman year to his sophomore year. As a freshman, Fernando finish the season with 21 assists (and 53 turnovers). He’s nearly tripled that this season, averaging 2.0 assists per game while improving his assist rate from 6.9 to 15.0.

Our own Jon Adams left Fernando off his most recent draft board. Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype lists him as the No. 20 overall prospect on his aggregate mock draft. Three of those ratings (ESPN, The Athletic and Bleacher Report) have him sneaking into the first round at the No. 29 or 30 position.

Bruno Fernando NBA Draft Big Board Rankings

Aran Smith of NBA Draft Net has the highest opinion of Fernando, as he appears at the No. 10 spot in his Top 100 Prospects list.

ESPN has provided the most extensive scouting report, seeing him as the fifth-best center and No. 25 player overall. Fernando’s pre-draft analysis calls him “an athletic marvel” but a “poor decision-maker.”

Simply put, he is an athletic marvel who is in the elite 1 percent of all basketball players on the planet from a physical standpoint.

Fernando is still a work in progress in a number of important facets. He’s a poor decision-maker (21 percent turnover rate), and his overall production and efficiency drop significantly when going up against better competition. Most concerning is how little impact he has on the defensive end of the floor, where his poor awareness, instincts and basketball IQ are demonstrated far too frequently. Fernando gives up deep post position too easily, bites on every shot fake, takes poor angles on pick-and-rolls, gets lost off the ball constantly and looks extremely limited switching onto ball handlers outside the paint.

With the negative aside, he was also compared to Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors and San Antonio Spur center LaMarcus Aldridge. The latter has put together a trio of 20-point plus performances in his last 3 games. Should Fernando even approach that level, a mid-tier NBA club could see themselves take a step forward.

Maryland tips off versus Michigan at 3:45 p.m. EST on CBS.

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