Despite being the most decorated basketball country in Africa, Angola never had a player represent the nation in the NBA. Today, that finally changed. Maryland’s Bruno Fernando was officially selected in the 2019 draft and will become the first Angolan to ever play in the National Basketball Association.
The 20-year-old center / power forward who was born in Luanda was drafted early in the 2nd round (4th pick) by the Philadelphia 76ers (34th overall) but was then traded to the Atlanta Hawks who had already selected DeAndre Hunter (4th overall) and Cam Reddish (10th overall). Hawks’ selection of Fernando has many believing that Atlanta easily won the 2019 draft.
Hawks already have Trae Young (18/19 Rookie of the Year finalist) as their starting point guard, yet by adding Fernando: a 6’10” old school big man, Hunter: a 6’7″ guard known for his staying true to basketball fundamentals and Reddish: a small forward who has the potential to become NBA superstar, General Manager Travis Schlenk has Atlanta set up well for the future.
During his two years with Maryland, Fernando scored 770 points with a field goal percentage of .595 and averaged 8.5 rebounds. In his final college year, Fernando recorded 22 double-doubles, with a 65 percent true shooting per Peachtree Hoops, averaged 13.6 points per game, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. During March Madness, Fernando also helped Maryland reach the 2nd round of the college basketball playoffs in 2019.
Watch highlights of Angola’s first-ever NBA player on the next page.