Emmanuel Mudiay: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Emmanuel Mudiay at the NBA Draft. (Getty)

Emmanuel Mudiay at the NBA Draft. (Getty)

When Emmanuel Mudiay’s name is called in the draft, few people know the struggle it took to get there. His family came to America from a war-torn part of Africa. Mudiay had expected to go to college, but his short stint at Prime Prep caused the young player to play professionally in China for a season. While in China, Emmanuel sustained injuries early into the season. It has been a long road to the NBA and one that few people know.

He does not fit neatly into our typical draft categories. He is a bit of a hybrid. Many experts have labeled him an international prospect since he played professionally in China. The 6’5″ point guard is originally from Africa, but spent most of his childhood in America. Mudiay was a highly touted player in high school and played in the annual McDonald’s All-American Game. The more you learn and the more you realize the intricacies of Emmanuel’s experiences.

These are the highlights of Emmanuel Mudiay’s story:

1. Mudiay’s Father Died When He Was a Baby

Emmanuel was just a baby in Africa when his father passed away. He collapsed and died at a barbecue.

Emmanuel was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo part of Africa, but his family would move to the United States when he was a young boy. He grew up in Arlington, Texas where he would become a high-school phenom.

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2. Emmanuel Attended Deion Sanders’ Prep School

Deion Sanders founded Prime Prep. (Getty)

Deion Sanders founded Prime Prep. (Getty)

Mudiay attended high school at Prime Prep in the Dallas area. The school was originally started by former NFL great Deion Sanders and was shut down earlier this year amidst controversy. Deadspin ran an excellent piece detailing the dysfunction of the school.

There is speculation that the school’s academic instability contributed to Mudiay deciding to not attend college. Emmanuel recently told ESPN the Magazine:

“The whole situation felt like it was all about the adults. I did the work I was told to do. I had a 3.1 grade-point average and was ready to go to college for a year, but I was hearing that I wasn’t going to be eligible for my first 17 games. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, so what I ended up doing made the most sense.”

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3. Mudiay Originally Committed to SMU but Decided to Play Professionally in China

Emmanuel Mudiay had originally committed to playing basketball at SMU under legendary coach Larry Brown. However, Mudiay would later announce that he planned to play professionally in China. According to CBS Sports, he signed a he signed a contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers worth $1.2 million for one season.

However, Mudiay was injured 10 games into the Chinese season and spent most of the season recovering from injury. To his credit, he stayed in China with his teammates staying true to his commitment.

4. Mudiay Signed With Under Armour After Graduating High School

One of the advantages for players opting to play overseas for a year rather than playing college basketball is the ability to sign endorsement contracts. Free from NCAA regulations, athletes are able to make money playing international basketball as well as earn endorsement money. Mudiay signed with Under Armour right after graduating high school. The company also made a similar move when they signed Brandon Jennings before he played a year overseas.

The shoe and apparel company recently teamed up with Foot Locker to create a commercial series featuring Mudiay. Foot Locker’s new ad campaign comically show the differences in Mudiay’s life before and after the draft.

5. Emmanuel Mudiay Was the Top Recruit of 2014

According to 247 Sports, Mudiay was ranked as the top recruit in his class. He was part of the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game where he scored 15 points and dished out 6 assists in 21 minutes of play. Top draft picks such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell and Justise Winslow also played in the game.