The regular season of college basketball is slightly over a week old and the hype around highly touted freshmen like Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner, and Karl-Anthony Towns has increased following every solid outing. One of the more talented freshmen, guard Emmanuel Mudiay, will never be seen on a college basketball court because he is taking a cue from former high school talents Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler by skipping college to play professionally overseas. Mudiay’s experiences and success of overseas could have an impact on whether his decision becomes an increasing trend among some of the more promising talents entering college basketball.
Prior of his decision to play in China, Emmanuel Mudiay was headed to Southern Methodist University to play for Larry Brown, one of the most accomplished head coaches in basketball history. Brown’s success on the professional and collegiate level encompasses many decades so when Brown said that Mudiay was “most special point guard I’ve ever seen at that age”, it speaks volumes for Mudiay’s abilities. He will reportedly make more than $1 million in his one year deal in China and made the decision because he was “tired of seeing my mom struggle”.
Among the many challenges that Emmanuel Mudiay is facing are the cultural and language adjustments of life in China as well as the physical challenges of playing against adult men, some of whom over a decade older than himself. His 6-foot-5 size at the point guard position will aid him and stands in contrast to the slight frame that Brandon Jennings took with him while playing overseas. While Jennings’ NBA career has been decent thus far, he was still selected tenth in the 2009 NBA Draft and has made over $17 million in his young NBA career. Of course, Mudiay’s professional basketball career could possibly mirror Jeremy Tyler’s as well, whose career has been marked by short periods of being in the NBA and longer stints in the NBA’s developmental league. Tyler is currently playing for the Chinese Basketball Association.
For a teenager like Mudiay, the $1 million contract in China and possibly getting drafted in the top five of the 2015 NBA Draft was more enticing of staying in America and playing college basketball. Early reports are that he has had an inconsistent season in China including a triple-double in his fourth game but where he is drafted next year could have an impact on future high school basketball stars’ decision to play at big time schools.