What has the tournament experience been like for you so far?
Bruno Fernando: This tournament has been a good experience for me, it’s not the first time I have played in this tournament though. I played in it last year when I first got to the United States. This year when I came here I already knew what it was like and so I just came ready to play hard and compete and do my best. It’s been great being with Montverde. My teammates and my coaches have been helping me a lot which has been great for me also, I’ve gotten better with them.
In what ways do you think you have improved as a player since you arrived at Montverde?
I think Montverde has helped me a lot especially with the coaches, they have been working with me on my moves and the way I play. Whenever I want to go to the gym, I always have coaches there with me and it’s been great for me. Since I got here with now the way I play, it’s been awesome.
With your style of play, what kind of role are you looking for in college?
When I go to college, I think the way I want to play is not going to change from the way I play now. With learning to play hard, I didn’t learn that from a coach, that was God’s gift to me and also from my Mom and my family. I just think wherever I’m going to go to college I’m going to play that way.
So if a college coach tells you that we want you to play center or power forward in their program if you go there, is there a big difference in your mind between those two roles with the way you play?
There’s a difference between playing those two places but for me, playing power forward I think would be better. Right now for Montverde I’ve been playing center as you can see because if I don’t play inside, we have a lot of big men and players that play outside. So I feel that my team needs me to play center and I think when I go to college and have an opportunity to play inside—that would be good for me to play power forward and would be a way for me to develop my game.
Have you looked at all as to who you feel does a good job with playing and developing big men with the way you want to play in college?
A lot of great coaches in college man. Like the Duke head coach, Marquette and all those schools. There have been a lot of really good big men, power forwards at Duke and I just gotta keep looking to see what’s a really good for me.
What led you to feel like Duke has had really good big men?
I’ve been watching them play a lot and they have a big man, Plumlee who got a lot better in the years he’s been at Duke. Plus with Okafor last year, he was a great guy, great player-makes me think that anywhere I go is going to be the right fit for me. It’s about me and keep playing the way I hope to play and keep getting better for my team, that’s really important because I want to play hard and be a leader—that would be great.
Sounds like you have watched Duke for awhile…
I’ve been watching them a lot. I really, even before I came to the United States—I would always watch College Basketball and I would see Duke and I was always like, “who are they, what school is that” and everybody I talked to about them said that they are one of the best schools in the country, so I always watched them play. That’s a school I really liked when I watched them play.
How hard would you say Duke has been recruiting you?
They showed really hard interest about me, that’s what they have done. They haven’t offered a scholarship, I’ve been talking to the assistant coaches. I don’t remember his name, but I haven’t visited yet.
What have the Duke assistant coaches been saying to you in your talks with them?
They have been saying to me that they really like me and they love the way I play, the intensity I bring to the floor and how that makes other guys on the floor play the same way I do. They said they would like a guy like me in their program.
With you being a 2016 player, graduation is coming in just a few months. Is that something you are looking at doing, or are you planning on waiting to graduate until 2017?
I really feel like I don’t, I’m not thinking about staying at Montverde for an extra year but if I had to stay and reclassify to 2017, I would do it and it would be good. I’m just trying to focus on school and get my stuff done.
Are things lining up with your academics and credits to where you might be in line to finish your requirements to go to college at the end of this school year?
I feel like I’ll get it done, I’m just working hard to make sure everything goes right with that. I feel like I’m in the right spot now and I will get it done.
Which schools would you say you are seriously considering for your college choice if you are able to go to college this year?
Right now I feel like, I’m still looking for all the options I have. There’s a lot of schools recruiting me and as a player I feel like some schools may not be the right fit for me, but the programs recruiting me—we’re going to get it done one day and I just have to make my decision when I’m ready to. I’m still open and all the schools that are coming to me—I want to thank them because it’s a blessing they are interested. I’ll keep working and when the right time comes—I’ll make my decision.
Are there any programs that are recruiting you that haven’t offered you a scholarship yet that you hope to have an offer from before you make your decision?
The biggest one is Duke. I’ve always liked them.
Who is really helping you with your recruiting process and decision-making process?
My coaches at Montverde are helping me a lot, I came here by myself without my family, my parents—so my coaches have been helping me with that.
What would you say are the most important factors for you when you think about deciding on a college?
I would say the relationship with the coaches and that they are people who care about me as a person and a player.