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What the Emmanuel Mudiay Moves Means for SMU and the NCAA

Emmanuel Mudiay
A couple years ago, a star prep guard by the name of Brandon Jennings from Oak Hill Academy decided to forgo college and play overseas for a year, before putting his name in the NBA Draft. It was the first time a player had done something like that since the NBA had instituted it's "one-and-done" rule. Jennings, who had originally been committed to Arizona, signed a deal to play with Lottomatica Roma, an Italian team. After a rather unspectacular year in Italy, Jennings declared for the 2009 NBA Draft and was selected 10th by Milwaukee. He has enjoyed a pretty solid career and is now playing for Detroit. His move sent shock waves through the basketball community. Was this a violation of the "one-and-done" rule? Would other high profile high schoolers follow? What does this mean for college basketball? Though, for the next couple years nobody took the route Jennings had. High schoolers went to college, played a year, went to the NBA and that was that. The debate has been dead until this past week, when SMU commit Emmanuel Mudiay made a surprising move, signing a one-year deal with a Chinese team. The move has ignited controversies over amateurism and has raised even more questions about the infamous "one-and-done" rule. What does this mean for the NCAA? NBA? And, lost in the ordeal, Larry Brown and the SMU Mustangs?

First, some backstory. Mudiay, the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2014 shocked many college basketball experts in August of 2013 by announcing his decision to play for Larry Brown and perennial bottom dweller, Southern Methodist University. The 6'5" guard can use his big frame to get to the rim and finish and he is also extremely quick, he could've been a star in college basketball. His commitment to SMU showed that the Mustangs are now becoming a program to be reckoned with under Brown. Not only did Mudiay announce his decision not to attend SMU, it also effected a number of other recruit's minds. 2015 four-star sharpshooter Matt McQuaid announced his decommitment from SMU yesterday, opening up his recruitment once again. With Mudiay in this backcourt, the Mustangs' backcourt would have been stacked. Sophomore Keith Frazier, who was a 2013 McDonald's All-American, and Nic Moore, an extremely dangerous scorer. Along with Markus Kennedy at forward and a weak American Athletic Conference, the Mustangs might have even been a Top 10 this next season. His loss sets the Mustangs back; this program has never had a talent like Mudiay, they have never had a five-star prospect. It puts SMU back a bit, but they still have the talent to make an NCAA tournament (after they were snubbed in 2014) and possibly be a major dark horse.

Could Mudiay heading overseas convince other high schoolers to do the same? Think about it, Mudiay is getting a million dollars over a season playing in China, while the rest of the 2014 recruiting class is extremely poor in college. He gets exposure still from NBA scouts and will get experience against pros that no college athletes will get during the season. When Jennings went to Italy and did not play very well, his stock dropped but not all that significantly. Mudiay is rated as my No. 2 prospect in the 2015 NBA Draft class (only behind Duke center Jahlil Okafor) and is rated extremely high by most scouting services. It will be interesting what scouts think of going overseas but is doubtful he will drop too much, he has all the talent to be vey successful in China. If Mudiay does have success in China and is drafted high, will this prompt others to do the same? When Jennings went overseas, many thought that it would be a growing trend in college basketball. But, the "trend" never even developed and no big names have done what Jennings did until of course, Mudiay. If other high schoolers decide it is a smart idea this would obviously be extremely bad for college basketball and the NCAA. The NCAA Tournament provides billion of dollars of revenue every year and the interest could of course be less if a number of the big name recruits are playing overseas. If this trend continues, it could really hurt college basketball. But, will it be a trend? Will top basketball recruits opt to go overseas, earn some money, play with pros and then get drafted? It is so tough to know what 18 and 19 year olds will do, they will make crazy moves often. But, anyway you look this move by Mudiay was huge and could mean big changes for both SMU and the NCAA in the near future.

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