Top recruit Mudiay to play overseas instead of SMU
Jul 14, 2014 at 7:10p ET
Top-rated point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has decided to forego playing for SMU and will instead pursue a contract with a professional team overseas.
As first reported on Yahoo Sports, Mudiay's decision is based on financial needs. NBA rules won't permit him to go directly to the league from high school, so his only option is to play in a foreign league.
SMU coach Larry Brown confirmed Mudiay's decision in a statement released Monday.
"This is not an academic issue, since he has been admitted to SMU, but rather a hardship issue," Brown said. "While I believe that college is the best way to prepare for life and the NBA, Emmanuel's situation is unique."
The 6-5 Mudiay was ranked as the top point guard in the 2014 class. He chose SMU over Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
He and his family escaped war-torn Congo and settled in the Dallas area. An older brother, Jean-Michael, was already playing for SMU and will be a senior this season. However, Mudiay said his desire to help his family outweighed his excitement about playing for SMU and its Hall of Fame coach.
NBA rules will not permit him to join the league until he is a year out of high school.
"I was tired of seeing my mom struggle," Mudiay said in a statement to SI.com. "After sitting down with Coach Brown and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forego college and pursue professional basketball opportunities...This has nothing to do with my eligibility in any way."
However, Mudiay's decision has raised questions about the credentials of his high school, Prime Prep Academy, the charter school co-founded by former NFL great Deion Sanders two years ago.
While Mudiay met SMU's requirements, the NCAA uses different criteria to determine freshman eligibility. Last summer, two Prime Prep products â TCU's Karviar Shepherd and LSU's Jordan Mickey â were initially declared ineligible by the NCAA before winning appeals.
The loss of Mudiay is a blow to SMU's hopes for 2014-15, but the Mustangs return most of the team that finished as the runner-up in the NIT last season and Brown has continued to add talent.
In fact, on the same day Mudiay's decision was revealed, highly-regarded Virginia Tech guard Ben Emelogu announced his decision to transfer to SMU. Emelogu, from Grand Prairie, TX, will be eligible for the 2015-16 season.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire