Emmanuel Mudiay, who many think could be a top overall NBA Draft pick, has decided to skip college and try to play professionally overseas before entering the draft when he becomes eligible.
Mudiay, a Dallas native who had committed to hometown SMU, made the decision for financial reasons, according to SMU coach Larry Brown. Mudiay, 18, can sign a professional contract in other countries.
Brown said in a statement that it was a “hardship issue,” not an academic one for Mudiay, who had already been admitted to SMU.
Brown also told ESPN on Monday that “He’s the most special point guard I’ve ever seen at that age.”
The NBA requires that players must be at least 19 years old and one year removed from his high school graduating class to be eligible for the draft.
Brandon Jennings in 2008 played professionally in Europe in 2008 before gaining NBA eligibility. Jennings was drafted by the Bucks No. 10 overall and now plays for the Pistons.
“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,” Mudiay’s brother, Stephane, quoted Mudiay as saying and sent to SI.com.
Mudiay committed to SMU over Kansas and Kentucky. Rivals.com rated Mudiay as the best guard of the 2014 class as well as No. 2 overall prospect behind center Jahlil Okafor.