Top point guard prospect Emmanuel Mudiay will pursue a professional contract overseas instead of playing college ball under Larry Brown at SMU, reports Evan Daniels of Scout.com.
Ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the nation for 2014 behind Jahlil Okafor, Mudiay was the only member of SMU’s recruiting class this year signing a Letter of Intent in November. Instead, he’ll follow the footsteps of Brandon Jennings and spend a year playing professionally in another country before presumably returning home for the 2015 NBA Draft.
In a statement released to NBC Sports, Mudiay says he couldn’t wait any longer to start supporting his family:
I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Larry Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA, but I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. After sitting down with my coach, coach Brown, and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom is to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities.
Mudiay also said that he’s not going pro because of possible academic eligibility issues with the NCAA, rejecting rumors that his time at Prime Prep — a charter school founded by Deion Sanders that’s been surrounded by issues — would’ve prevented him from suiting up at SMU.
Now Mudiay will most likely be able to get paid handsomely for a year before entering the NBA draft as a top prospect. Back in 2008, Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma in Italy for a year instead of playing at Arizona, earning over $1 million before becoming the No. 10 pick in 2009 draft by Milwaukee.
So this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a top prospect do this, and as long as the circumstances for teenage basketball players in the United States remain the same, it probably won’t be the last. It’s still disappointing news for SMU, and now NBA executives will have to start planning for some extra flights to Europe (most likely) next year.