When SMU first started looking at Emmanuel Mudiay, he simply wasn't interested.
But what a difference a couple of years can make. The Mustangs went out and hired Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown and in his short time on the Hilltop, he's already transformed the program by landing top-tier recruits and bringing in quality transfers.
Mudiay, however, was the ultimate prize. The five-star 2014 prospect is considered the top point guard in the nation and ‘shocked the world' by verbally committing to SMU in the summer. On Wednesday afternoon, he signed his National Letter of Intent and officially became a Mustang.
"SMU was just the best choice for me. (Staying close to home) played a big role in it," Mudiay said. "The fact that SMU is 20 minutes from the house and it's in Dallas, my mom can come see me everyday and same thing with my brother so that's the big thing."
And Brown was obviously a key factor as well.
"(Larry Brown) is a Hall of Famer," Mudiay said. ‘The fact that he's one an NCAA and NBA championship is a big thing, and I feel like we have a great chance next year of doing that."
With a talented roster and Mudiay now on board, SMU has a chance to do something truly special next season. Even without Mudiay, the Mustangs are already showing flashes of potential this year and are off to a 2-0 start.
Mudiay was on hand to watch SMU defeat rival TCU at the American Airlines Center last week and was surprised by the warm welcome he received. Midway through the second half, SMU fans began chanting his name and gave him a standing ovation.
"I definitely wasn't expecting that. It was definitely fun," Mudiay said. "It was a great experience to go out there and show my team some support."
Mudiay says he can't wait to get on campus and learn from the more experienced players on the team, one of those being his older brother, Jean-Michael, who signed with SMU this spring as part of a package deal.
"Growing up me and my brother always said if we had a chance, we would play with each other," he said. "Luckily he came to SMU and that's a good thing for me. It's going to be fun."
With his decision out of the way, Mudiay has now taken on a role as a recruiter for SMU. With William Lee off the board, Mudiay is now turning his focus to Myles Turner and Jonah Bolden, two premier big men.
"Myles Turner hasn't committed so we're tough on him. We're just not going to stop till we get somebody," he said. "I actually have talked to Jonah. I think he's going to make his decision pretty soon. We're just going to stay on him too. Just look at the coach that's there. If you look at the coach, it speaks for itself. "
Mudiay also has unfinished business to attend to. Last year Prime Prep had a terrific season but fell short of a national title. This year, he wants to win it all. In his first game, Mudiay showed his determination to will his team to victory by scoring 33 points in a win over traditional powerhouse Houston Yates.
While SMU is certainly on his mind, making an impact as a senior and continuing to improve are his top priorities.
"It's definitely exciting (to see SMU doing well). I can't wait. If I could, I would go out there and play with them right now," Mudiay said. "But I just have to keep working on my game and keep getting stronger so I can be ready for the collegiate level."
Mudiay Signs With SMU
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