SMU landed its third big man in its 2016 recruiting class when Bruno Fernando announced his commitment Friday afternoon on ESPN2 at the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals.
Fernando, a four-star center and the No. 100 overall prospect in 2016 class, picked SMU over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Central Florida, Florida State and Marquette, plus late interest from Duke.
“I want to thank all the colleges that recruited me so hard, but I will be attending SMU,” Fernando said on ESPN2’s broadcast, before donning an SMU hat.
The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Fernando said on the broadcast he was looking for a school that felt like home, since his family is still in his native Angola.
“The first thing I’m looking for is a place where people care about me, ” Fernando said. “It doesn’t matter how much time I stay there, I just want to enjoy it.”
On a visit to SMU this past summer, Fernando felt the school would satisfy those expectations.
“I loved being there on campus this summer. It was great for me and I enjoyed the time. I just built a relationship with the coaches,” Fernando. “Once I got there, I felt that’s the place I wanted to be.”
The first day Fernando can sign his national letter of intent is April 13. He is the fifth member of SMU’s class, joining four-star big men Ted Kapita and Harry Froling, plus guards Tom Wilson and Dashawn McDowell. The two guards signed in November, while all three big men committed in the late period.
Fernando fits best as a center at SMU and is ready to contribute early. He is built to score on the block and has a good jump-hook. Defensively, he rebounds well and blocks shots. With Markus Kennedy and Jordan Tolbert departing, SMU will rely on Fernando, Froling and Kapita to play major minutes at the post spots right away.
“I’m going to keep working hard and I’m ready for the next level,” Fernando said. “I’ve been working for it. Whatever comes my way, I’m ready to deal with it.”
After winning last year's tournament, Montverde lost to La Lumiere (Ind.) in the DICK’S Nationals semifinals on Friday, 55-47. In Thursday’s 70-54 win vs. Providence Day (N.C.), Fernando posted 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 12 minutes played.
On the Nike EYBL AAU circuit this past summer, Fernando averaged 5.2 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 1.7 blocks per game in 15.9 minutes for E1T1 Elite, while shooting 59 percent from the floor.