Even now, at the end of his high school career, Emmanuel Mudiay still is not a complete player. He'll finish his prep days and enter college with real question marks about his jump shooting ability, and yet he has set the court on fire at times this year thanks to the aspects of the game where he excels.
Mudiay certainly didn't Rolls Royce his way through easy competition. Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep competed against a national, high-travel schedule that took them to events coast to coast.
As the top-ranked guard in the 2014 class and No. 3 overall prospect, he generally took the floor heaped with the greatest expectations. Every up and coming player wanted a piece of him, and at times he did falter versus such a formidable, steady stream of challengers.
But by and large, he responded forcefully. Mudiay even had some very hot perimeter shooting games — such as the Mustang Madness event in January — and also proved to be clutch. He willed Prime Prep to a victory at the Under Armour High School Showcase the night after Mustang Madness, and he recently buried a buzzer beating three-pointer to defeat Dallas (Texas) Kimball in a local showdown.
Stats never have served as an accurate measure by which to evaluate Mudiay. Mostly, because he's such a standout on the defensive end that box scores can't do his performances justice. He's arguably the greatest deterrent to ballhandlers in all of high school basketball, using his outstanding height, strength and quickness to manhandle opponents.
Embracing his identity as a defender may take time, given the role he always has played as alpha scorer, but essentially there's no doubt his talent on that end of the court will translate 1:1 to college. Meanwhile, his transition scoring also should show up on day one for the Mustangs, and Larry Brown certainly knows a thing or two about harnessing ultra-talented guards.
We'll take a close look at Mudiay next month when he competes at the McDonald's practices in Chicago. He'll take the floor in front of the watchful eyes of NBA scouts, and that's where the questions could reemerge with respect to his jump shot. If he knocks down shots there, however, he'll create a strong first impression with the individuals most likely to make him a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft.