Top-rated high school guard Emmanuel Mudiya is skipping college in favor of a big-time pay day next year.
Mudiya, a five-star recruit and one of the top college prospects in the country, signed a $1.2 million contract Tuesday to play for Guangdong in the China Basketball Association.
Mudiya’s signing is bad news for Southern Methodist University, where he’d committed to playing for Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’s the 2nd High-Profile Player to Skip College & Play Overseas
In 2006, the NBA started mandating the players be at least a year removed from high school before playing in the league. The rule ensured that sure-fire lottery picks like John Wall, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis and Andrew Wiggins to play one year in college before turning pro. But one player — Pistons guard Brandon Jennings — opted to play in Italy for a season rather than attending the University of Arizona.
Jennings played one year in Italy before being selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft.
2. CBS Sports Reported There Were Concerns Over Mudiay’s Eligibility
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 16, 2014
After Mudiya announced earlier this month that he would be skipping college, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish reported that Mudiay was concerned about the possibility he would be declared ineligible by the NCAA.
Because, according to multiple sources, the truth is that there were growing concerns, real or imagined, that the projected lottery pick might have a difficult time getting through the NCAA Eligibility Center because of academic issues or amateurism issues. In other words, there was a real possibility that Mudiay, even if cleared academically, would become the next Josh Selby or Shabazz Muhammed, i.e., an elite recruit found guilty of taking improper benefits to the point where a suspension would be possible, if not likely.
Two days after Parrish’s report, Mudiay’s older brother, Steph Mudiay, told CBS’ Sarah Kazadi that eligibility concerns weren’t a factor in the decision:
People have been speculating that anyway. Two years ago, there was an incident about eligibility issues and there were a lot of questions about whether the school was qualified or not. So I think it just went from there.
3. He’s Going Pro Because He’s Tired of Seeing His Mom Struggle
In announcing on July 14 his decision to skip school, Mudiay said in a statement to Sports Illustrated his mom’s financial struggles were a leading factor in his decision.
He told SI in a statement released by his brother:
I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA,” Mudiay said in a statement relayed by his brother, Stephane, to SI. “But I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. And after sitting down with coach [Larry] Brown and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities. I am grateful for Prime Prep coach [Ray] Forsett for developing me into the player and man that I am, and I am also grateful for coach Brown’s guidance and his support. This has nothing to do with my eligibility in any way.
4. He’s a Potential Number 1 Overall Pick in Next Year’s Draft
Mudiay, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Dallas, is considered a candidate to be the top overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Prior to Mudiay’s announcement that he was skipping school, here’s what NBADraft.net had to say about him:
Emmanuel Mudiay is arguably the top point guard in the class of 2014 and will almost certainly be a one and done player. Under the tutelage of Larry Brown at SMU his decision making will undoubtedly improve and he will learn how to run a team in the half court. With his size and quickness Mudiay has the potential to be a top 10 pick and with an improved jump shot could become a future NBA All Star …
5. He Played at a Dallas Prep School Founded by Deion Sanders
Mudiay played for two seasons at Prime Prep, a school founded by former NFL star and Major League Baseball player Deion Sanders.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the school faces having its charter revoked because of financial mismanagement and compliance issues with the state education code.
The Morning News reported on July 15:
The Texas Education Agency issued the findings Tuesday in a letter of intent to revoke the open-enrollment charter of Uplift Fort Worth, the parent organization of two Prime Prep campuses in Dallas and Fort Worth. Prime Prep Academy opened in 2012 to much fanfare because of Sanders, a former Dallas Cowboys star. The school, however, has had problems in almost every area.
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