Maryland duo Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan Jr. have both declared for the NBA Draft and intend to sign with agents, according to a release from the school on Monday.
Under new NCAA rules, college players can use an agent to guide them through the draft process but have until May 29th to decide whether they will stay in the draft or return to school. If they return to school, they must cut ties with the agent.
The announcement that Fernando is declaring comes as no surprise. The sophomore center tested the waters last season before making a last second decision to return to College Park. Fernando posted 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds on his way to a first team All-Big Ten selection.
“It has long been my dream to play basketball at its highest level in the NBA,” Fernando said. “With that being said, I am taking the pre-draft process extremely seriously. I want to ensure that I make an informed decision that will set the foundation for sustained success and prosperity through my playing career and beyond.”
Fernando received an NBA Combine invite last season, so it is expected he receives one this year as well. Fernando is currently slated as a first round pick in most mock drafts, so it is unlikely he returns to Maryland for his junior season.
Cowan’s decision to declare comes as a bit of a surprise. The junior guard led the team in scoring and assists this season and was named to the second team All-Big Ten, but is not a name that experts think will get drafted. Cowan was unranked in Sports Illustrated’s most recent Top 80 Big Board, as well as ESPN’s top 100 draft prospects list.
“My last three seasons at Maryland have been a true blessing and I have grown so much as a player and person,” Cowan Jr. said. “As I enter my final year of eligibility, I feel it’s important to receive an evaluation of my game from professional teams to best prepare myself for life after college.”
Given Cowan’s current projection and that last quote, it appears that he is using this time to receive feedback from coaches at the next level to improve his game before returning to college for his senior season. However, there is always the chance he feels he has done enough to earn a professional contract and decides to leave.
The Terrapins were recognized by several “way-too-early-top-25” rankings for 2019-2020, with the expected departure of Fernando. However, if Cowan leaves then expectations will not be as high for the Terps.