Top high school basketball prospect Emmanuel Mudiay wanted to be different. At first he chose Southern Methodist University (SMU) over power programs such as Kansas and Kentucky. Now, he has opted to spend the next year playing basketball overseas.
He originally signed with SMU and its legendary coach Larry Brown before announcing on Monday that he will instead play overseas before trying to make it to the NBA.
Mudiay is the No. 2 ranked player overall and top guard for the class that just graduated high school. His decision to skip college and to play professionally is due to his family’s dire economic situation.
“I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA,” Mudiay said in a statement relayed by his brother, Stephane, to Sports Illustrated . “But I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. And after sitting down with coach [Larry] Brown and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities.”
He could not go straight to the NBA because there is a rule that a player cannot enter the draft until he is 19 years old or he has been out of high school for at least one year.
Mudiay’s path to the NBA is similar to that of Brandon Jennings. In 2008, Jennings opted to play professionally in Europe instead of go to college. The following year, he was the tenth pick in the NBA Draft, according to The Kansas City Star.