Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan declare for NBA draft, but both keep door open for return to Maryland

Maryland sophomore center Bruno Fernando and junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. plan to make themselves eligible for the 2019 NBA draft, the team announced Monday.

Both players plan to sign with agents, but under new league guidelines, they have until May 29 to either renounce their college eligibility or return to school.


The NBA draft is scheduled for June 20.

“Both Bruno and Anthony are taking advantage of the new rules and hiring agents to make educated decisions as they pursue their goals of playing in the NBA,” coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement.


“Both of them will have the opportunity to take advantage of the system set in place to gain feedback on their futures. Our coaching staff will be working in tandem every step of the way.”

In the past, players who signed with agents were not allowed to return to school to play.

Maryland forward Jalen Smith announced last week that he would return for his sophomore season.

This marks the second time Fernando has gone through the process. A year ago, Fernando was invited to the NBA draft combine in Chicago and worked out for several teams before deciding to return to Maryland. He did not sign with an agent last year.

Fernando, a first-team All-Big Ten selection and first-team all-defensive player, is likely to be invited again to the NBA draft combine in Chicago next month and is expected to stay in the draft, according to league sources.

Several NBA scouts and executives have told The Baltimore Sun that the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Angolan should be a mid-to-late first-round selection, possibly even a lottery pick.

As a sophomore, Fernando was one of the most improved players in the country. He posted 22 double doubles, which was tied for second in Maryland history, averaging 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting 60.7 percent from the field.

“It has long been my dream to play basketball at its highest level in the NBA,” Fernando said in a statement. “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 throughout my playing career and beyond.”

Cowan, who was selected second team All-Big Ten after leading the Terps in scoring (15.6 points) and assists (4.4) for a second straight year, is not expected to be invited to the combine, according to league sources.

But the 6-foot, 170-pound Cowan could go to private workouts with several NBA teams as well as with the G League.

In a statement, Cowan indicated that he will likely return for Maryland for his senior year. Cowan has started every game (99) since he came to College Park as a freshman in 2016. Cowan needs to make 28 starts to pass Keith Booth (Dunbar) for second on the school’s all-time list. Steve Blake is the record holder with 136 starts.

Cowan is tied for 10th in assists (437) and 23rd in points (1,376) at Maryland. Given what he has averaged over his first three seasons (13.8 points, 4.3 assists per game), Cowan has a chance to finish in the top 10 in scoring and the top five in assists all-time.

Having been at or near the top of the Big Ten in minutes played the past two seasons, Cowan is also in range of both Greivis Vásquez for all-time minutes played (4,568) and Adrian Branch for average minutes per game (34.0).


“My last three seasons at Maryland have been a true blessing and I have grown so much as a player and person,” Cowan 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.”