Bruno Fernando is one of the more intriguing 2019 NBA Draft prospects. Fernando really established himself as a future prospect by leading Angola to the FIBA Africa Under 18 championship and took home the MVP honors. After playing at Montverde Academy in Florida, he eventually committed to Mark Turgeon’s Maryland Terrapins. Fernando had an impressive freshman campaign, where he averaged 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, and earned All-Big Ten Freshman honors.
After testing the NBA Draft waters, Fernando came back to Maryland and enjoyed a stellar sophomore season. Bruno averaged a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds for the Terps. He led them to a first-round NCAA Tournament win over a pesky Belmont team before falling short to LSU. Despite Maryland falling short of Sweet Sixteen expectations, Fernando improved his game enough where he decided to stay in the 2019 NBA Draft. Let’s take a look at how Fernando stacks up as a prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Initially, Fernando started getting college basketball and NBA interest during the 2014 FIBA Under 18 tournament where the Angola native showed flashes of his potential and superior athleticism. That potential and athleticism has continued and blossomed for the big man. Fernando is a high-level athlete with explosiveness that cannot be taught. Throughout his career, Fernando showed great bounce which helped him become a tough rebounder and strong finisher at the rim. The big man had the third highest standing vertical leap (29.50 in) and max vertical leap (33.50 in). He possesses a muscular frame and has a standing reach of 9’2″. This allows him to absorb contact in the post and transition.
Without a doubt, Fernando’s quickness and speed are often underrated as he tested as the most agile big man who participated in the NBA combine. Bruno had the fastest shuttle run at 3.05 seconds which was significantly faster than 3.25 posted by Miami’s Dewan Hernandez. Also, had the fastest 3 quarter sprint (3.21) and was second in lane agility (11.29).
FLEX ON 'EM.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 4, 2018
Low-Post Skill Set
In addition to his athleticism, Fernando is an absolute load on the block to handle. He possesses a traditional post game where he can beat an opponent with his face-up game or developed back to the basket moves. Undeniably, he has great shooting form and touch around the basket as evidenced by shooting over 60% from the field and over 75% from the charity stripe. Throughout his Maryland career, Bruno has developed an array of moves that have punished defenders. His spin moves and up and unders are already at an advanced level.
Bruno Fernando trying to get Maryland back in this one. ?
— theScore (@theScore) March 23, 2019
Obviously, the modern NBA big man must possess a perimeter game to keep a defensive honest. Fernando wasn’t able to display much of a perimeter game under Mark Turgeon’s predictable offensive. Fernando only attempted 10 three-pointers during his sophomore season, sinking 3 of them. Fortunately for Bruno, he does have a strong shooting form. Under the right team situation, he could develop this skill and actually turn it into a strength. Also, Fernando is listed as 6’10” which isn’t ideal for an NBA center who only possesses a low post game at this stage of his career.
NBA Comparision: Steven Adams
Many mock drafts have the talented big man from Maryland being selected anywhere from late lottery to early second round. I believe Bruno has the ability to have a long NBA career strictly based off of his athleticism and demeanor/composure that he possesses. Steven Adams comes to mind as a strong comparison for Bruno. Both can be a defensive menace and possess a formidable low post game. Fernando comes from a hard-working background and has displayed constant improvement that’s reminiscent of Adams. Adams’s journey from New Zealand to Pitt and the NBA really correlate to Fernando’s journey from Angola.