Bruno Fernando may be just what Maryland needs for the future.
On Sunday, the Terrapins secured a commitment from the 6’10 IMG Academy (Fla.) center. Fernando is Maryland’s first pledge of the 2017 class and the first big man to commit to the program since Diamond Stone in 2015.
According to 247Sports, Fernando is rated as a four-star prospect. The Angola native is ranked No. 71 overall player along with the seventh-best center in the recruiting service’s composite rankings.
Fernando had originally committed SMU as a part of their 2016 class, but ended up reclassifying and reopening his recruitment. He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Marquette, and South Carolina in addition to Maryland.
The Terps hosted Fernando on a visit this past weekend for the school’s Homecoming festivities. Clearly, the whole experience was a success as Fernando decided to announce his commitment to the school.
Why is the Fernando’s pledge such a big deal for the program?
First of all, Maryland didn’t add a big man in their 2016 recruiting class. Duquesne transfer L.G. Gill will play his graduate year during the 2016-17 season and the Terps also have center Damonte Dodd still in the fold.
The program lost forward Robert Carter Jr. and Stone to the NBA Draft this past summer. Carter had another year of eligibility left, but chose to test the waters in the NBA.
Maryland’s unfortunate frontcourt situation forced Mark Turgeon and his staff to aggressively pursue a number of big men in the 2017 class. The Terps missed out on Jaren Jackson (La Lumiere School, Ind.) and Nate Watson (Bishop O’Connell, Va.), so the need for a big man intensified.
Fernando has many of the characteristics that any school looks for in a frontcourt player.
First of all, Fernando is a tremendous rim protector.
He has the athleticism and size (6’10/225 lbs.) to command the paint. He lives at the rim and isn’t afraid to deny any opposing player of scoring around the basket.
Fernando is also very quick for a big man, so he can close in on a potential shot in the blink of an eye. His speed also allows him to run the floor at a very high level.
He’s also very active on the glass on both ends of the floor. That’s where his superb athleticism comes into play and allows him to play above the rim.
The former Montverde Academy (Fla.) standout also is a very gifted on the offensive end.
Fernando isn’t soft by any stretch. He takes the ball up strong and has the ability to finish with authority.
He also has a wide variety of post moves, including a hook shot that he goes to fairly often.
When you put on the tape, this is a guy that jumps out of the gym. Fernando is the type of athlete that the Maryland frontcourt hasn’t seen in College Park in quite some time.
Stone was a dominant post presence, but didn’t possess anywhere near the athleticism that Fernando does.
Fernando certainly has the ability to be a great talent at Maryland, so this is a huge addition.