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Report: Maryland's Fernando, Huerter and Jackson all invited to NBA combine in Chicago

Maryland sophomore guard Kevin Huerter and freshman center Bruno Fernando, as well as departing sophomore forward Justin Jackson, are among the players invited to the NBA draft combine in Chicago this month, according to a list reported by Yahoo Sports on Friday.

While Jackson has signed with an agent and won’t return to College Park, neither Huerter nor Fernando have yet to do so and have until May 30 to remove their names from the draft and return to school.

The combine is scheduled to be held May 16-20. The NBA draft will be held June 21.

The performance by Fernando and Huerter at the combine, as well as in private workouts, will have a lot to do with their decision. Both have indicated to Maryland coach Mark Turgeon that they won’t stay in the draft unless they’re guaranteed to be a first-round pick, a source said.

The Athletic reported this week that both could go late in the first round but also could go undrafted. The Athletic reported that Jackson, who is still rehabilitating from surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder, is thought to be a second-round pick at best.

Huerter averaged 14.8 points per game last season, second on the team behind fellow sophomore Anthony Cowan (15.8). The 6-foot-7 Huerter also averaged 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists, and shot 41.7 percent on 3-pointers.

Despite missing more than three weeks of preseason practice with a sprained left ankle, and two games in December with a sprained right ankle, Fernando wound up averaging 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots.

The 6-10 Angolan was named to the Big Ten’s All-Freshman team.

After averaging 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds as a freshman, Jackson was named to the Big Ten’s preseason all-conference team. But the 6-7 Canadian struggled on the offensive end, watching his 3-point shooting drop from a team-best 43.8 percent to 25 percent.

One NBA executive, who asked to remain anonymous, said Jackson should’ve given himself the same option as Huerter and Fernando of returning to school by not signing with an agent. As it is, Jackson won’t be able to work out for teams until this summer.

The decisions by Huerter and Fernando on whether to return will have a major impact on Maryland improving upon last season’s disappointing 19-13 record. The Terps failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years, and were also snubbed by the NIT.

Turgeon will be adding a five-player recruiting class ranked as high as No. 7 nationally — and No. 1 in the Big Ten — that will be led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jalen Smith (Mount Saint Joseph) and 6-6 wing Aaron Wiggins.

There were several notable Big Ten players who were not invited to Chicago.

Purdue stars Vincent Edwards, Carsen Edwards and Isaac Haas, who is recovering from a broken elbow suffered in the NCAA tournament, were not among the nearly 70 players invited. Neither were Wisconsin center Ethan Happ and Michigan guard Charles Matthews.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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