About an hour ago, news broke that Emmanuel Mudiay, an SMU commit who was at one time Calipari’s biggest target in the 2014 recruiting class, has decided to forgo college and play a year overseas before going to the NBA. Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news, and said Mudiay and his family made the decision based on concerns he wouldn’t be eligible due to academics, but later reports have refuted that.
Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn spoke with Mudiay’s brother, Stephane, who passed along the following statement:
“I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA. But I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. And after sitting down with coach 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. I am grateful for Prime Prep coach [Ray] Forsett for developing me into the player and man that I am and I am also grateful for coach Brown’s guidance and his support. This has nothing to do with my eligibility in any way.”
CBS Sports is reporting that Mudiay has a lucrative contract offer to play in Asia. After a year overseas, he will presumably return to enter the 2015 NBA Draft, a route also taken by Brandon Jennings in 2008.
When Mudiay committed to SMU last August, it was one of the first times Cal missed on an elite recruit he really wanted. Tyler Ulis committed to UK the following month, and then in April, the Harrison Twins decided to return to school, a move that would seem even less likely had Mudiay committed to UK. Suddenly, losing him doesn’t sting so much, does it?