Sometimes gifts come in a package deal.
When SMU ‘shocked the world' by landing a verbal commitment from five-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, they inherited an extra member of the Mudiay family as well.
The older but less heralded of the two, Jean-Michael Mudiay, arrived to campus just a few short months ago. And although he stands in the shadows of the spotlight on his brother, Jean Michael is confident that he can make a difference on the Mustangs' roster.
"I just have to do the same thing I've done all my life – just be myself," Mudiay said. "I just have to play my game, not try to do too much, not try to prove that I can be my little brother. I'm myself so I just have to be myself."
After playing two years at Western Texas College, Mudiay decided to come back to Dallas where everything is much more familiar and where he feels he can get a better education.
"First of all it's a great degree," Mudiay said. "It also gives me an opportunity to play with my little brother who's coming next year and to stay close to home. You can't go wrong with that."
Mudiay is already seeing his decision pay dividends as head coach Larry Brown has helped his game progress since he joined the team.
"He's picked on small details like how I release my shot, he's helped me work on that," Mudiay said. "I've seen a big improvement on that already and I'm just starting to understand the game better."
Many of the players who will suit up for the first time as Mustangs have been on campus working and bonding with their teammates since early this summer. Mudiay, however, got a later start which has caused him to be behind the ball when it comes to learning the playbook.
"I'm focused on getting the offense down because I've only gotten two or three months' worth of work," Mudiay said. "So I'm just trying to get everything down, trying to understand and fit in.
"It's going good. In practice when I'm out I watch a lot and try to learn from that. I think I'm almost there. It's just a matter of playing now and not thinking so much."
At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Mudiay will most likely be used as a two guard. Possessing good size and strength, the junior's goal is to put his skill set on display and break into the rotation.
"I can get to the basket," Mudiay said. "I can rebound at my position and I can defend. I take pride in defense. If I can do that then I should be fine. I just want to do whatever I have to do - whether it's clap or get on the court and stop somebody - to get us to the tournament. That's what I want to do."
Hoops Feature: Jean-Michael Mudiay
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