Five-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay made headlines on and off the court Saturday night at the Under Armour Elite 24 game. Between two very different halves of basketball, the 6-foot-5 point guard from Prime Prep surprised everyone in Brooklyn, and the college basketball world, by choosing to play at SMU next year.
On the court, Mudiay displayed the skills that have him ranked as the number one point guard in the whole country. Going up against fellow five-star point guard Tyus Jones for most of the night, Mudiay showed the combination of speed, physicality, and strength that make him a nightmare for all types of defenders.
The game was sloppy from start to finished for both teams and looked more like an unorganized pick up game than a showcase of the best players in the country. For Mudiay, however, it was a tale of two halves.
His team, Bed Stuy, struggled for most of the first half and trailed 66-43 at the break with Mudiay only having scored four points. After announcing his decision, he came out much more relaxed for the second half and played like the best player on the floor.
Over and over again, he showed an incredible ability to penetrate the paint and find teammates off the bounce. His speed and athleticism combined with his basketball I.Q. make him deadly on fast breaks and in screen-and-rolls. ESPN announcers Jay Williams and Paul Biancardi could not stop complimenting Mudiay's passing skills after he threw a couple magnificent alley-oops and bounce passes to his teammates on fast breaks.
A very underrated part of Mudiay's game is his ability to rebound and defend. He has the frame and lateral quickness to be a very strong defender at the next level and continued to keep plays alive with his relentless pursuit of offensive rebounds.
When he was struggling with his jumper in the first half, Mudiay posted up smaller defenders and destroyed them in the paint by using his strength at the rim. He could be more consistent with his outside jump shot and needs to tone down the turnovers a little bit, but his court vision and feel for the game will help him improve in those areas.
Mudiay nearly brought his team back, but eventually Bed Stuy lost 114-109 to Coney Island. He finished the night with 23 points and four assists and earned team MVP honors.
It's easy to see why Mudiay has drawn comparisons to other NBA point guards like John Wall and Tyreke Evans. He is such a special talent and will benefit greatly from having a mind like Larry Brown coaching him everyday.
Last night was just the beginning for Mudiay as he became the greatest recruit in SMU school history and showed why he could be a future NBA star.
Evaluating Mudiay's Elite 24 Performance
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