The RecruitmentFrom the moment Emmanuel Mudiay stepped onto a high school campus college letters were already filing into his coach's office. Mudiay was hyped very early, and everybody knew about him because of his combination of size, athleticism, and speed. Because of that it is no surprise that the offers started to come in early.
Baylor, Texas, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Kansas, and a whole host of other schools threw their name in the mix early, and upon getting the job at SMU so did Larry Brown and his program. A who's who of college coaches were making their way to Arlington (Tex) Grace Prep then Dallas (Tex) Prime Prep to scout and recruit Mudiay.
From the beginning it seemed like two schools were getting the most buzz. Baylor and Kentucky were identified early on by most as the two schools that Mudiay seemed to like the most. While Mudiay himself was hesitant to name schools, and tended to shy away from the media spotlight, those two became all the rage.
Towards the end of his sophomore year and into his junior season, Kentucky however would gain all the traction. Most figured he was a done deal to the Wildcats. Obviously John Calipari has an excellent track record with point guards and sending to the NBA, and the Wildcats seemed locked in on Mudiay.
However, starting in July SMU began to challenge Kentucky in the eyes of many. Brown and Calipari, who have a close relationship, were seen at Mudiay's games, and all of the sudden it became a dogfight. In July all signs pointed towards a late fall or spring decision, however Mudiay had other plans.
Mudiay decided he was ready and all he needed to do was make his announcement on TV, so he decided the Elite 24 Game was the place to do it, and said he was down to Baylor, Kentucky, Kansas, SMU, and Oklahoma State.
The TalentThere is a reason that Mudiay is seen as the No. 3 player in the class. His talent is simply off the charts. At roughly 6-foot-3 he might be as fast as any player in the country, and is an elite athlete to boot.
On top of the incredible combination of size and speed, Mudiay also has significant skill to go with it. When he wants to play the role of facilitator he can, when he needs to be a primary scorer, he can, and when he simply wants to be the best player on the court, almost always he can.
Mudiay's one kryptonite has been his jump shot, but at least during July that showed signs of improving.
While the jumper might be a work in progress his ability to get to the rim isn't. Quite simply no one in high school basketball is capable of staying in front of Mudiay. He is the best in the country off of ball screens and getting to the rim, and that makes him one dynamic playmaker.
The PredictionBrian Snow: For the longest time I had Mudiay penciled in to Kentucky. In fact at the start of July I thought it was virtually a done deal and that he was simply putting off the inevitable. That said, starting in the middle of August there began to be some signs that Kentucky might not be the pick. First UK offered Tyler Ulis, and then buzz began to spread that SMU is where Mudiay was indeed leaning. The early announcement before the UK visit made it clear that SMU is where Mudiay in fact was destined to go, and that is my pick. Prediction: SMU
Evan Daniels: While Kentucky was considered the leader by many throughout Mudiay's recruitment, it's clear that SMU has done a great job recruiting him. Larry Brown has been on him since he took over at SMU and he's made him a priority. Mudiay has been on their campus a half dozen times and SMU is local. He was scheduled to visit Kentucky in October, but he's obviously deciding before that. If Mudiay didn't pick SMU on Saturday, it would be a surprise. Prediction: SMU