New York Knicks: 2019 NBA Draft targets who stepped up on March 23

Gonzaga Brandon Clarke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Gonzaga Brandon Clarke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks Maryland Bruno Fernando (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Maryland Bruno Fernando (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

There are plenty of players for the New York Knicks to watch in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Which potential draft targets stepped up?

As the New York Knicks close their disastrous season, the draft provides a silver lining. They stand to at least own a top-five pick, with intriguing players at the forefront, that have starred in college over the past five months.

Most of those talents have participated in the 2019 Men’s NCAA Tournament. Some of them were in action on Saturday, March 23, as the second round began. The field would cut to 24 teams, with another eight games set for Sunday.

The day’s action was represented by lopsided scores, aside from LSU’s thrilling win over Maryland. So there was minimal fanfare amid the usual chaos.

Which players stood out among the pack, however? Let’s take a look:

4. Bruno Fernando, Maryland

Slash Line: 3-for-8/0-for-1/4-for-4
Stat Line: 10 points, 15 rebounds, one steal

Maryland kept it close with No. 3 LSU, but a late basket from Tremont Waters pushed the Tigers to the Sweet 16 and eliminated the Terrapins.

It was not the brightest offensive night for center Bruno Fernando, who had 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. His work on the boards, however, was notable enough, as Maryland outrebounded LSU 42-32, even with Naz Reid’s presence.

Fernando did fine in maybe his last collegiate impression, before a trip to the NBA. He projects as one of this class’s top big men, although with the question of where he falls in the first round. has the sophomore from Angola as the ninth overall pick. CBS Sports has him 18th. It’s a decent disparity, but the draft process should impact where he eventually falls in the 2019 NBA Draft, as a big body that can handle the boards and is athletic, but with doubt of how well he’ll perform offensively at the next level.

Either way, Fernando should become a fringe lottery pick. That is out of range for the New York Knicks, and they already have Mitchell Robinson patrolling the paint and developing into a second-round steal. Teams in the top half of the draft need big men, though, in New Orleans, Charlotte and Atlanta, so fits exist.