The Hilltop Review

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Jean-Michael Mudiay On Emmanuel Mudiay

By EJ Holland

No one knows Emmanuel Mudiay better than his older brother Jean-Micheal.

The two grew up playing together and will now be on the same team at SMU. Jean-Micheal, a junior shooting guard, says he excited about his sibling joining him on the Hilltop next year.

"It means everything to play with him. When he came to me and made that suggestion, I was really happy," Jean-Micheal said. "I love playing with my little brother. It's going to be fun to do it on the college level."

Jean-Micheal believes Emmanuel will be a good fit on the team because of his ‘goofy' personality. But as far as on the floor, Jean-Micheal says Emmanuel means business.

"SMU is getting a great point guard, a hard worker, someone that's going to come in and do the right thing and a great leader too," Jean-Micheal said. "He leads by example and he's vocal to. He's always doing the right thing and keeps God first.

"He definitely makes everybody better. Our bigs like Yanick (Moreira) and Markus (Kennedy) are going to love playing with him because he's going to put them in the right position to make the right plays all the time. That's going to be key."

One thing Jean-Michael thinks Emmanuel needs to work on his jump shot, but he's already seen improvement from him in that area. According to Jean-Micheal, what makes Emmanuel so unique is he's unlike any player he's ever seen.

"He used to remind me of Tyreke Evans when he was younger but as he grew older, he's more like Emmanuel," Jean-Micheal said. "He's not like anybody else I can compare him to. He's become his own player."

Jean-Micheal has not seen many minutes at SMU but is working on his conditioning in order to crack the rotation. For now, he says he is enjoying learning from Larry Brown and is making sure he is in the best shape possible.

Stephane Mudiay on Emmanuel Mudiay

Perhaps no one at Emmanuel Mudiay's signing day ceremony was more proud than Stephane Mudiay, the eldest of the three Mudiay brothers.

When their father died at young age, it was Stephane who became the man of the house and helped raise both John-Micheal and Emmanuel. In fact, he introduced them to the sport of basketball and was emotional when asked about watching his baby brother officially become a Mustang.

"It means a lot. I'm proud of him. It's exciting to watch him sign it," Stephane said. "Honestly, I realized four years ago that he was going to be pretty special. I knew when he was a little kid. But it was at a camp in Chicago where I knew he was going to be elite."

Stephane, who played basketball on the college level at Texas Wesleyan, helped Emmanuel throughout the recruiting process and always had a soft spot for SMU.

"It's just been a blessed year. SMU is such a good school, that's one of the reasons me and my mom wanted him to go there," Stephane said. "The academics are great, it's close to home and you have a Hall of Fame coach. It was a win-win situation."

Stephane believes Emmanuel can be one of the top point guards in college basketball next year and one day be a star in the NBA. But before he can do that, Emmanuel must take in words of wisdom from ‘The Godfather.'

"I think he can learn a lot from Coach Brown," Stephane said "He can learn how to be a pro because Coach Brown has coached so many great players. I think it's going to help him tremendously."

Scouting Report: Emmanuel Mudiay vs. Houston Yates

By Scott Sanford

Stats: 33 points

Scoring: Mudiay was double teamed most of the night, but the five-star point guard didn't let that slow him down. The SMU signee, who looked like Derrick Rose at times, got most of his baskets by slashing through the lanes and finishing at the rim and when he got to the rim, he did not miss. The senior also did a nice job of making his free throws at the end of the game when his team needed him the most. Mudiay also did a good job of cleaning up his teammates' misses. He got several offensive rebounds and was able to score off of some easy put-backs.

Playmaking ability: Mudiay displayed his speed and athleticism throughout the whole game. The point guard was able to take the ball coast-to-coast and either create his own shot or dish it off to a trailing Prime Prep player. Mudiay had great vision when it came to finding the open man in traffic. Mudiay also showed off his ball-handling skills, crossing over and spinning around a number of defenders. When Prime Prep needed a big basket or a couple of made free throws, Mudiay was there to lead his team to a win.

Overall Grade: A-. For the first game of the season, Mudiay had a terrific showing. He scored well, rebounded well, and had some nice passes to set up his teammates for easy shots. The five-star point guard did have a couple of moments, however, where he seemed to be pressing, and he was forced into making careless shots and passes. Obviously as the season progresses, Mudiay will be able to grow and learn from each game, so there's no concern about the SMU commit and his play.

Other SMU prospects:

Melvin Swift: Swift, although he didn't have the impact Mudiay had, quietly put together a solid game filled with blocks and dunks. The forward moved and finished well around the basket and, like Mudiay, made his free throws when they counted.

Terrance Ferguson: Ferguson, who did not score in double figures, had a disappointing night. The sophomore looked lost at times but did have his moments, including a gigantic dunk that looked like Lebron's signature cock-back dunk. Ferguson also hit a couple of three-pointers towards the end of the game. Look for Ferguson to evolve and grow with guidance from Mudiay throughout the season.

Ehambe Still An Option

By EJ Holland

Among the family members at Prime Prep to watch Emmanuel Mudiay sign with SMU was 2014 outside linebacker Josh Ehambe. An SMU football prospect, Ehambe was happy to see his cousin officially become a Mustang.

"It's a great experience. I'm happy for him. Hopefully he gets blessed more, and he makes it in the NBA," Ehambe said. "I'm really happy for him. I'm going to go to all the home games with him to watch Jean Michael too."

So could Ehambe be joining Mudiay at SMU next year?

The Mustangs recently picked up a commitment from Houston Lamar linebacker Kyran Mitchell, and the class appears to be full. But Ehambe spoke to SMU wide receivers coach Jason Phillips a few weeks ago and believes he is still on the Ponies' radar.

"It would be real good to keep going to school with Emmanuel," Ehambe said. "I'm still talking to Coach Phillips and waiting for Coach (Deion) Sanders to tell me when the time is right to make a decision. SMU is still around the top of my list."

Along with SMU, Ehambe is also considering Colorado State and Louisiana Tech. And Ehambe will actually be making his official visit to Colorado State this weekend.

"I have a great relationship with their coaches and one of my former teammates plays over there so it's a school I'm interested in," Ehmabe said. "I like the defense they run, and I think I would be a good fit zero."

Ehambe will make his official visit to Louisiana Tech next month and hopes to schedule an official to SMU in the near future.

Johnson Calls Bolden ‘A Coach's Dream'

By Omar Majzoub

Four-star power forward Jonah Bolden of Findlay Prep (NV) has become the top target for the SMU coaching staff.

At 6-foot-8, 190-pounds, Bolden is a top-30 prospect in the Class of 2014 and one of the best forwards in the country. Although his recruiting has picked up recently, Bolden is waiting to take the ACT before starting to make his official visits.

Bolden's coach at Findlay Prep, Andy Johnson, wouldn't say much about his recruiting. But Johnson did say he believes SMU would be a good fit for the native Australian.

"His father is handling his recruiting a lot," Johnson said. "Jonah hasn't narrowed it down and nothing really has changed recently since the last update. He is at 10 schools right now, but he is about to cut a couple schools out. I know he really likes SMU, so we will see."

The Mustangs are expected to make Bolden's top-five because they have kept in constant contact with him throughout the recruiting process. Johnson says the entire SMU staff is doing a terrific job of building a strong reputation around the country.

"Obviously, they have a legend in Coach (Larry) Brown over there," Johnson said. "He has been very successful everywhere he has went. SMU is a very, very good school and Coach (Tim) Jankovich is also a very good coach. They definitely have the program on the rise."

Johnson says Bolden is one of the most skilled players he has ever coached. With a very unique game, Bolden needs to keep improving on his strengths, but Johnson says that will come with more maturity.

"He has a very, very high IQ and a great feel for the game," Johnson said. "He is a very good passer and, for a 6-foot-9 kid, he can handle it pretty well. He is also a good shooter for his size and can put it on the deck. He has played really well this year and we're excited about his future."

Johnson thinks Bolden will be successful wherever he goes because of his versatility and understanding of the game. Still, the coach sees Bolden as being a perfect fit in a more up-tempo playing style.

"He plays so mobile and so athletic for his size that being able to get up and down the floor and out in transition is important," Johnson said. "It definitely helps him out when he has freedom and spacing in the half court offense." Johnson also believes Bolden can play both forward spots in college. Although he has said he wants to play out on the perimeter, Bolden also has the skills to be a terrific stretch-four.

"He has the ability with his versatility to be able to guard two's through five's for you," Johnson said. "He is kind of a coaches dream with the versatility that he has because he gives coaches the opportunity to create mismatches every night."

Johnson says Bolden's best attribute is his character and willingness to learn. He has been a terrific teammate for Findlay Prep and will continue to make life easier on his teammates and harder on his opponents in college.

"One thing that's very underappreciated with him is just how good of a kid he is," Johnson said. "Jonah is a phenomenal person and one of the leaders of our team. He will help any program that is trying to go to the next level."

Larry Brown Visits 2015 4-Star SF Again

By Adam Grosbard

SMU head coach Larry Brown and his staff have made two trips in the past two weeks to Atlanta to visit four-star 2015 small forward Danjel Purifoy.

While Purifoy has not spoken to his AAU coach Winfred Jordan of ATL Express about those visits, Jordan is impressed by Brown's efforts.

"I actually have not spoken to him about Coach Brown coming down here to see him last week," Jordan said. "But I think it's amazing. I told (Danjel) after he first came down here, it speaks volumes."

Purifoy told Jordan that Brown had invited the 6-foot-6, 195-pound junior to visit SMU but Purifoy ‘did not make any indication' to Jordan when Purifoy is planning on visiting SMU.

Purifoy is still receiving a lot of interest from college coaches.

"The other day he talked with Alabama and Kentucky offered for him to visit," Jordan said. "I'm trying to get in touch with members of the Kentucky coaching staff to legitimize that because I have a great relationship with those guys."

Purifoy has offers from SMU, Michigan State, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama and has also received interest from Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Florida State and Maryland, among others. But Jordan is on record as saying that geography is not important to Purifoy and that his player is looking for ‘the best program that fits him.'

For now though, Purifoy is just getting ready for his junior season of high school.

"I talked to Danjel just the other day just about things he needs to do to win a championship this high school season," Jordan said. "He wants to win a state championship, but he really needs to focus on the things he needs to do to improve- consistent jump shot, ball handling, getting to the rim, defense. He needs to work on those things and keep going harder and harder and harder in regards to living up to his talent level."

Highland Park Coach On Tony Richards

By Scott Sanford

After picking up an offer from SMU two weeks ago, 2014 Highland Park offensive lineman Tony Richards went ahead and committed to the Mustangs last week.

SMU has always been at the top of the list for Richards, so when they came calling, it was a no-brainer for the Scots' offensive tackle. The son of former SMU standout David Richards, Tony, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weights 250-pounds, will have the opportunity to redshirt his freshman year.

Highland Park head coach Randy Allen believes that with Richards' genes, and an opportunity to redshirt his freshman year, the offensive lineman can make the necessary adjustments for the college game.

"He's got great potential that hasn't been tapped into yet," Allen explained. "He's a late bloomer, but he's got the framework to be a 300-pounds lineman. I think if he can eat and lift in a college program from a year, he can be a big contributor for SMU."

Allen also believes that Richards, who runs a 4.7 second 40-yard dash and has a 30-inch vertical, can make an impact on the Hilltop just like his father did.

"Our offense (at Highland Park) is a college offense, so he's been pass protecting and run blocking in a two-point stance just like they do at SMU," Allen said. "We think Tony will be a great contributor to SMU because he can help at guard or tackle."

What also impresses Allen is that Richards is a team player.

"Ultimately, he (Richards) just wants to see SMU get to the top of their conference," Allen said. "He knows his time will come to contribute, and he'll be ready whenever that is."

Because of Richards' relationship with the SMU program, and lack of interest from other schools, Allen emphasized that the offensive lineman is ‘very solid' on his commitment.

A Look At How Some Commits Did…

- Jordan Ingram caught three passes for 75 yards in Dallas Carter's 30-13 loss to Dallas Lincoln

- Shelby Walker recorded two catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in Houston Lamar's 38-14 win over Katy Morton Ranch

- Darrell Colbert completed 7 of 15 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns in Houston Lamar's 38-14 win over Katy Morton Ranch

- Jordan Severt completed 12 of 21 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in Austin Westlake's 17-10 win over Pflugerville Hendrickson

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