Emmanuel Mudiay, a prep standout who announced last week that he would play professional basketball overseas instead of at Southern Methodist, has signed a one-year deal to play for Guangdong of the China Basketball Association.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a source telling him that the deal is worth $1.2 million.
Mudiay, considered by most to be the top high school point guard in the recruiting class of 2014, is expected to be a high lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
Mudiay had been accepted by SMU but had yet to be cleared academically by the NCAA’s Eligibility Center. As CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish reported last week, his chances of gaining eligibility “were slim” because he spent the past two years at Prime Prep Academy, a Texas charter school co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders that could soon be closed because it failed to comply with the state’s education code.
According to Parrish, Prime Prep has been “under an extended evaluation period to determine if it meets the academic requirements for NCAA cleared status.” And while players from Prime Prep have been cleared by the NCAA in the past, those players had done enough academic work at other schools to qualify for a waiver. Because Mudiay attended Prime Prep for two years, he almost certainly did not have enough academic work from another school to qualify for a waiver.
A source told Parrish that the NCAA has never once allowed Prime Prep coursework to count toward a prospective student-athlete’s transcript.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis, SMU Coach Larry Brown thought Mudiay would have qualified.
Had dinner last night with Larry Brown. Said he believes Mudiay would have been cleared by NCAA but family didn’t want to take the chance.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) July 22, 2014
Only two high-profile prep basketball players are known to have foregone college basketball to play professionally overseas. Brandon Jennings, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2008, spurned Arizona to play professionally in Italy for one season after graduating from high school. He was selected 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2009 NBA draft and currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. Jeremy Tyler, meanwhile, skipped his senior year of high school in San Diego to play professionally in Israel, playing in only 10 games for Maccabi Haifa for the 2009-10 season. He spent the 2010-11 season playing professionally in Japan before getting drafted with the 39th overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2011 NBA draft. Last season, he played 17 games for the New York Knicks.