Updates from Tuesday, July 22
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Emmanuel Mudiay has agreed to a deal in Asia:
Emmanuel Mudiay's one-year deal with Guangdong of the China Basketball Association will pay him $1.2M, source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 22, 2014
Wojnarowski adds more on Mudiay's move:
For China season, Mudiay has taken out significant insurance policies to protect future earnings against injury, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 22, 2014
Emmanuel Mudiay, one of the top incoming freshmen in college basketball, will be taking a page out of NBA star Brandon Jennings' playbook and skipping college altogether, choosing instead to go overseas to play professionally until he is eligible for the NBA draft.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first broke the story and acknowledged Mudiay was considering the option:
The nation's No. 1 high school guard, Southern Methodist University signee Emmanuel Mudiay of Dallas, has been considering hiring an agent and taking a job playing overseas next season, sources told Yahoo Sports.
No decision has yet been reached on how Muiday will proceed, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Mudiay, an explosive 6'5" guard, has been projected as a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft. The Chinese Basketball Association has been discussed as a possible destination for Mudiay, a native of the Congo.
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reports that a decision has indeed been made:
Earlier @WojYahooNBA reported that Emmanuel Mudiay is considering skipping college and going overseas. I’m now hearing it’s done. He’s gone.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 14, 2014
Mudiay's brother, Stephane, confirmed the news in a statement he provided from Emmanuel (via Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated):
1. "I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA." ...— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) July 14, 2014
Mudiay 2: "But I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. And after sitting down with coach Brown and my family …"— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) July 14, 2014
Mudiay 3: "we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities."— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) July 14, 2014
Mudiay 4: "I am grateful for Prime Prep coach [Ray] Forsett for developing me into the player and man that I am … "— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) July 14, 2014
Mudiay 5: "and I am also grateful for coach Brown's guidance and his support. This has nothing to do with my eligibility in any way."— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) July 14, 2014
Larry Brown also commented on Mudiay's decision, via Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com:
Emmanuel has decided to pursue professional basketball opportunities. This is not an academic issue, since he has been admitted to SMU, but rather a hardship issue. After talking to Emmanuel, I know he really wants to alleviate some of the challenges his family faces and recognizes that he has an opportunity to help them now.
While I believe that college is the best way to prepare for life and the NBA, Emmanuel's situation is unique. We were excited about having him at SMU, but we understand this decision and wish him the best.
It's not an unprecedented move. Jennings, who averaged 15.5 points and 7.6 assists per game for the Detroit Pistons last season, decided to forgo college in 2008 and instead played in Italy for Virtus Roma for one season. Jennings was then selected 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2009 NBA draft.
According to Wojnarowski's report, Mudiay may have had difficulty becoming eligible to play for SMU under Brown for the upcoming season. Hence, Mudiay began weighing his options.
"Don't have much to say about that," Brown told Yahoo Sports in a text message, per Wojnarowski's report. "He's been [accepted] at SMU. Taking a few classes to be on the safe side."
It no longer appears that will be the case, however. Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports that the NCAA was investigating Mudiay:
Mudiay's camp is concerned of an ongoing NCAA investigation, source told ESPN. Huge hit for Larry Brown and SMU.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 14, 2014
However, Stephane denied that his brother's decision had anything to do with the NCAA, via Winn:
Stephane Mudiay said this was a recent decision and insisted that it was not the result of an NCAA investigation.— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) July 14, 2014
With Mudiay looking all but assured of playing overseas next season, it delays the momentum that Brown has built with SMU since joining the program as coach, as Winn tweeted:
And NCAA fans are going to be deprived of an exciting young talent, per Andy Glockner of The Cauldron:
That's a bummer that NCAA fans won't get to watch Mudiay. I'm not an AAU head, but I saw him a couple times. Really talented.— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) July 14, 2014
This also renews calls for a legitimate developmental system for guys like Mudiay who can't/don't want to play NCAA.— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) July 14, 2014
But if Mudiay has a positive experience overseas and his draft stock isn't affected, it might inspire more players to forgo college altogether. That didn't exactly transpire after Jennings made his move to Italy, but if more than one player has success making the move, it could become a trend.
Thus, it will be very interesting to see where Mudiay ends up playing and how he comes out of the experience. More than a few NCAA programs will likely be hoping Mudiay's decision isn't one that becomes en vogue.