By Evan Raigrodski
CBS college basketball analyst and former head coach Steve Lappas, who was on the call for the
Maryland men's basketball game vs. Wisconsin
Feb. 4, doesn't think Terps freshman forward Bruno Fernando or sophomore forward Justin Jackson are ready for the NBA.
In an interview with
Glenn Clark Radio
Feb. 5, Lappas said he believes 6-foot-10 Fernando will develop into a standout player, but he's not ready to make the NBA leap just yet.
"I think he's going to reach that potential at some point, [but] he's not ready now, by any means," Lappas said of Fernando. "He's got work to do, but I think the potential is there. He's got the size; he's athletic. I think his hands need some work, but I think there's potential there also. I think people are going to keep their eye on him. I think he would be making a big mistake if he were to decide to leave this year, which I don't think he is."
While Fernando may be on the draft radar, Lappas said there's "no way" Fernando would be selected in the first round of this year's NBA Draft.
Jackson, who was sidelined in December with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, tested the NBA waters after last season. He even worked out with his hometown Toronto Raptors before deciding to return to Maryland for his sophomore season.
"Let me say this about Justin Jackson, say what you want, but he was not playing particularly well when he got hurt," Lappas said. "He was rebounding well, but, offensively, he had not shot the ball well. He was averaging less than 10 points a game. I think he would be absolutely well-served to come back because there is no way right now that I think people have him high on their draft board. He needs to come back and prove that what he did last year, as a freshman, was not a fluke."
Jackson, 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, averaged 27.8 minutes, 10.5 points and team-high 6.0 rebounds per contest during his freshman year. This year, Jackson averaged 9.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 29.2 minutes per game before being sidelined.
Jackson and Fernando aren't the only Terrapins with NBA potential. Lappas said sophomore guard Kevin Huerter has also been impressive. This season, Huerter is averaging 14.6 points per contest -- second on the team -- while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 44.7 percent from 3-point range.
"No question he's a pro -- a 6-foot- two guard that can shoot like that," Lappas said of Huerter. "He can handle the ball, very good passer. I love Kevin Huerter. I think he's terrific; I think he'll be a really good pro. I would like to see him come back, too, without a doubt, but he's got a really bright future ahead of him."
For more from Lappas, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox