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Maryland's Kevin Huerter remains in NBA Draft, could be option for Wizards in first round

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland's Kevin Huerter remains in NBA Draft, could be option for Wizards in first round

Days after his college teammate decided to go back to school, Maryland forward Kevin Huerter has opted to remain in the 2018 NBA Draft, he confirmed via his Instagram account on Wednesday.

Huerter's decision is not surprising given how much he has helped his draft stock in recent weeks. Many mock drafts now project him as a first round selection and as high as a mid-first round pick.

Huerter, 19, averaged 14.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a sophomore for the Terps this past season. He shot 41.7 percent from three on 5.5 attempts per game.

Huerter was considered a possible second round pick before the NBA Combine earlier this month where he measured in at over 6-foot-7 in shoes. He also thrived in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, showing legitimate NBA range with his outside shot.

There's a chance Huerter doesn't go far from College Park, as the Wizards hold the 15th overall pick in the first round. They want to add shooting this offseason and could use more depth at the wing position. Huerter could be Bradley Beal's backup at shooting guard and also fill in at small forward behind Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Sports Illustrated first reported the news of Huerter's decision.

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Maryland's Bruno Fernando drops out of draft, heads back to school

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Maryland's Bruno Fernando drops out of draft, heads back to school

After going through parts of the NBA pre-draft process, big man Bruno Fernando has decided to return to the University of Maryland for his sophomore season, the school announced on Monday. 

Fernando, 19, participated in the NBA Draft combine this month and spoke with several teams, including the Washington Wizards. Fernando discovered he would be better off with more experience at the college level.

Terps head coach Mark Turgeon commented on Fernando's decision via a school press release.

“I’m happy that Bruno went through the process and was able to gather the necessary feedback to make an informed decision on his future,” said Turgeon. “I think Bruno learned a lot during this process, and it will only make him a better basketball player. We’re really excited to have his energy and passion in our locker room next year.”

Fernando was projected by most mock drafts to either be taken in the second round or go undrafted. Another strong year at Maryland could vault him into the first round of the 2019 draft. The 2018 class happens to be very deep at the big man position.

Fernando had solid measurables at the combine that, if matched with on-court production, will make him very attractive to NBA teams. He measured in at about 6-foot-10 with shoes and with a wingspan of over 7-foot-4.

The news that Fernando is going back to Maryland is obviously great for Turgeon and the Terps, who were at risk of losing three of their best players to the draft. Justin Jackson hired an agent and will leave the school, but forward Kevin Huerter could also return to school. Huerter, however, was one of the stars of the combine and is now projected by many outlets to be a first round pick.

For more on Fernando and the Terps' offseason as it relates to the NBA Draft, check out our interview with Coach Turgeon on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

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Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

Going into the 2018 NBA Combine, Kevin Huerter was not receiving much hype, was off many NBA Draft boards, and many assumed he was heading back to college anyways.

Playing in the first scrimmage of the combine process, all those storylines quickly changed.

Playing against players like Jacob Evans, Donte DiVincenzo, Udoka Azubuike, and Jevon Carter, Huerter emerged as one of the top stars. The two-year Maryland spot-up shooter saw 25 minutes of action and only trailed Penn State prospect Tony Carr in points on his squad.

With 14 points (5-11 FG, 3-8 three-pointers), Huerter showed development since he was last seen with the Terps. His passing was the biggest asset for his team and was not afraid to take a shot against these top defenders.  The 6-7 forward also added three rebounds, an assist, and had only one turnover.

Although his shooting in-game was not fantastic, in the individual drills he showed off.  Of the seven shooting marks, he ranked in the top five in five of them.  He also had the best shuttle run (2.96 seconds).

No question, Huerter’s draft stock significantly rose. Although still early, he is looking to be the highest rated Terp prospect this year over Justin Jackson and Bruno Fernando.

Consensus among those at the NBA Combine seems to believe that Huerter will return for his junior season at Maryland.

After today though, it may be hard to say no.