Maryland men’s basketball guard Kevin Huerter, who jumped from being a fringe NBA draft pick to a potential first-round selection after his impressive performance at the NBA draft combine in Chicago, will bypass his last two years in College Park to sign with an agent.
He announced his decision Wednesday afternoon on Instagram, calling his two years with the Terps “a dream come true” and saying he waited until the draft’s deadline day because he “truly didn’t know what I was going to do.”
The 6-foot-7 Huerter showed improvement in several areas last season, increasing his scoring to 14.8 points a game, second on the team behind fellow sophomore Anthony Cowan Jr., and improving his 3-point shooting to better than 41 percent.
While plenty of NBA scouts were in attendance at Maryland’s games, the team’s lackluster 19-13 season, which ended with a first-round defeat in the Big Ten Conference tournament and no postseason invitation for the first time in four years, had Huerter playing in the shadows.
“Kevin has made a significant impact on our program during his two seasons in College Park,” coach Mark Turgeon said in a release. “He has worked extremely hard to put himself in this position to be drafted by a NBA Franchise. Kevin is an outstanding young man who comes from a great family and has a bright future ahead of him. This was a difficult decision for both Kevin and his family knowing how much he loved Maryland and enjoyed college. However, Kevin took his time and gathered the necessary feedback provided by NBA teams to make the best decision. We’re excited for Kevin as he pursues this next step in his career.”
Huerter’s profile increased dramatically this month at the four-day combine. Huerter was one of the top overall shooters among the 69 players who tried out, and with his testing, interviewing and scrimmaging, increased the number of NBA teams seriously interested in drafting him.
As of Friday, no fewer than six NBA teams were listed on various mock draft sites as picking Huerter in the first round. He was listed as high as the No. 18 overall pick of the San Antonio Spurs, with other predictions including No. 21 to the Utah Jazz, No. 24 to the Portland Trail Blazers and No. 27 to the Boston Celtics.
Huerter returned home late Monday night and was to discuss his situation with his parents at the family’s home in Clifton Park, N.Y.
If Huerter is picked in the first round June 21, he would be the first Terp since Alex Len went No. 5 overall to the Phoenix Suns after his sophomore year in 2012-13. Since then, only two Terps have been drafted, with Diamond Stone going 40th overall and Jake Layman 47th in the 2016 draft.
Huerter’s decision ends an anxious and bittersweet few days of waiting for Maryland fans. On Monday, freshman center Bruno Fernando announced he would return for his sophomore season, leaving Huerter as the last outstanding piece of what could have been a preseason top-15 team next season.