Emmanuel Mudiay is one of the nation’s top-ranked high school basketball player. Instead of playing at SMU for coach Larry Brown, Mudiay decided to sign a $1.2 million contract with Chinese professional team Guangdong earlier this week. His decision to sign professionally in China brings back questions about the benefits of playing NCAA basketball and the NBA’s one and done rule. Guard Brandon Jennings was the first to play overseas straight out of high school; he signed a $1.65 million deal to play with top Italian team Pallacanestro Virtus Roma. Jennings recalls his decision:
“At the time, I was 18 years old, and growing up, our dreams were to go straight out of high school to the NBA. I think that was every kid’s dream back then.”
Jennings explains this decision was beneficial because he had the chance to improve his game, and learn how to become a professional before going to the NBA. Once he entered the NBA, he wasn’t nervous because he had a year of professional experience under his belt.
While we don’t know what Mudiay’s experience will be like, but we can predict that he won’t have to worry about college classes or the 20-hour rule like his future teammates at SMU.
Why don’t more high school stars skip college to play outside the U.S? It is a tempting option, and could become a trend if Jennings continues to succeed in the NBA and Mudiay’s draft status is not affected.