Why he picked SMU: The nation's No. 1 ranked point guard chose SMU over John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday before winning co-MVP of the Elite 24 basketball game aired nationally on ESPN. Emmanuel Mudiay was undoubtedly attracted to the idea of putting on clinics in front of his own friends and family in the city near and dear to his heart. He was incredibly intrigued by the upward trajectory of a basketball program on the verge of turning the corner onto the street of national relevance. But most of all he was enamored by the opportunity to learn from one of the best to ever do it. Hall-of-Fame Head Coach Larry Brown said that he would come in and land five-star talent, and he did just that.
What his commitment means: The best basketball player to ever commit to SMU to date. Mudiay will live with that for the rest of his days. But what exactly does this mean to a program that is known for its stellar business program, its beautiful campus and getting the death penalty? Instant respect. The respect of other basketball programs across the country, respect from some of the nation's most highly ranked recruits, respect from local and national media and respect from students, faculty and fans. Mudiay choosing SMU over a historic powerhouse like Kentucky makes the statement that the days of dwelling in the cellar are over. No more scraping from the bottom of the recruiting pot and no more settling for the guys thinking, ‘well, if all else fails I can go to SMU.' By Mudiay choosing the Mustangs he set the bar that much higher for those attempting to walk in his footsteps. These are all ways that Mudiay has impacted SMU without making a basket in Moody Coliseum.
What Mudiay brings: On the court, Mudiay brings another level of skill and ability to an already vastly improved SMU squad. Simply put, he is the total package. His supreme size at the point guard position allows him to do things that other point guards can't. He is quick and possesses excellent ball-handling skills but at 6-foot-5, 190-pounds Mudiay has the body to get to the rim and finish with contact. Mudiay dazzles with his ability to create for his teammates. His court vision is elite and his passes put his players in perfect position to score. The biggest area of improvement for Mudiay is his jumper, which has vastly improved over the summer. Because he can get into the paint with ease, Mudiay commands space and respect from defenders. If he can knock down pull-up jumpers consistently at the collegiate level he will be impossible to guard with one guy.
When will Mudiay make an impact: There is no doubt that the Prime Prep star will make an immediate impact at SMU, and it is likely that he will not see much time on the pine – if any. But Mudiay won't just come in and put up 18 to 20 points a game. He's worth more than that. With an elite point guard running the show Coach Larry Brown can find creative ways to get players like Jalen Jones, Yanick Moreira and Cannen Cunningham baskets. Throw in transfer Nic Moore and scorer Keith Frazier alongside Mudiay, and SMU has a backcourt with enough speed and athleticism to run up and down the court with any team in the country much less conference.
Which NBA player does he compare to: Mudiay has the ability to drive and finish with excellent body control comparable to Dwyane Wade. He possesses that explosiveness at the basket like Russell Westbrook and the flashy handles and passes of John Wall. With coaching, he will be a very nice prize for any NBA team wanting to take home a special player in the draft. But before looking too far ahead, Mudiay still has one more year to develop and mature. Before being a basketball player, he is a well-spoken man of faith and understands the value of hard work and perseverance. Another reason why there are few doubts about his potential.
What's SMU's future with him: Because of Mudiay, the future for SMU basketball looks bright. National prominence could very well be obtained sooner rather than later, but what looks good on paper doesn't always translate to the floor. Everything must be earned. At the end of the day, make no mistake- Mudiay has taken the SMU basketball program to new heights and expectations and Larry Brown damn sure knows how to recruit. The Godfather strikes again. The question is, who's next?
Breaking Down Mudiay's Commitment
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