Rather than spending the next year playing NCAA ball, the top guard from the 2014 high school class will play professionally in China.
Emmanuel Mudiay, widely regarded as a lock to be a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft, opted to sign with the Guangdong team in the Chinese Basketball Association instead of playing at Southern Methodist University for a year under Larry Brown.
According to Mudiay, he chose to go get paid overseas instead of playing for free in the NCAA because he is “tired of seeing [his] mother struggle” financially.
Mudiay inked a one year, $1.2 million deal with Guangdong, and will be eligible for the 2015 NBA Draft in which he’s projected as a consensus top-10 pick.
Although Mudiay is trying to paint his decision to play overseas as a financial one, there are other issues at play here. According to CBS Sports, he was having trouble being declared eligible to play in the NCAA due to his time spent at Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep Academy.
One report by CBS Sports writer Gary Parrish said Mudiay’s chances of being declared eligible to play in the NCAA next year were “slim to none.”
Nevertheless, Larry Brown stuck to Mudiay’s side of the story this week and said the guard’s decision to play in China was financially based.
"Emmanuel Mudiay has decided to pursue professional basketball opportunities," Brown said last week. "This is not an academic issue, since he has been admitted to SMU, but rather a hardship issue."
The last high profile prospect to skip college and play professionally overseas for a year was Brandon Jennings. Jennings signed with the Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Serie A for one year before being drafted 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2009.