Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Mudiay’s sudden departure hurts SMU, but all is not lost

July 25, 2014 Columns No Comments

Emmanuel Mudiay’s decision to head overseas instead of to SMU has some people wondering if it will be the start of a trend. It’s highly unlikely that ends up being the case, but one thing is for certain: his departure is a blow to SMU for the upcoming season. The Mustangs looked like they could be on their way to getting over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15. Now, they might still do it, but their ceiling won’t be as high.

Mudiay will be just the third player to opt to go overseas before attempting the NBA since the NBA put its minimum age requirement into effect almost a decade ago. Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler came before him, and while Jennings is a bona fide NBA player, he’s certainly not an all-NBA player and his one year overseas wasn’t exactly an unqualified success. His second NBA contract was far from a maximum deal. Tyler, who actually bypassed his senior year of high school, was even less ready both on and off the court for his foray into overseas basketball. In three seasons since being drafted he has played a grand total of 1,034 minutes in 104 games – less than ten minutes per game and less than 35 games per season.

Three players in just under a decade, with the first two not exactly being sterling success stories, does not mark the beginning of a trend. It’s understandable: as talented as any of these players might be, in the European pro leagues they will be younger and far away from home. There is much to adjust to on and off the court, and not much time since the idea is to be there for just a year. In addition, the U.S. does not rule the world in basketball to the degree it used to, and there’s very good talent in many leagues in Europe. (Mudiay will play in China, but the general point still remains.)

For Mudiay, who is from Dallas, that one year would be much easier at SMU. Besides being close to home, he would have teamed with Nic Moore for a dynamic backcourt that might be the best in the American Athletic Conference in 2014-15. Add in emerging big man Markus Kennedy inside, and you have a solid core in a conference that will be wide open given that the top teams from this past season either lost a great deal personnel-wise (Connecticut, Cincinnati, Memphis) or are gone entirely (Louisville, off to the ACC).

In Mudiay’s recruitment, it came down to SMU and Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State. It would not have surprised anyone if he went to Kentucky given what John Calipari has done in getting players to the NBA. Larry Brown is no slouch with his track record, but Kentucky has much more visibility than SMU, and so do the other schools, for that matter. Mudiay wanted to be part of something different, hence his choice of SMU, and it looked even better when several key Wildcats announced they would be back in Lexington next season instead of heading for the NBA Draft.

But this is about SMU. It’s about the Mustangs finally becoming relevant and now trying to be more than that.

Put Mudiay and Moore together and you have the best backcourt in the AAC next season and possibly one of the better ones in the country. Cincinnati loses Sean Kilpatrick, while Connecticut loses Shabazz Napier and Memphis loses a great deal as Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon Jr., Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford are all gone. SMU was close to reaching the NCAA Tournament and then reached the NIT championship game, losing to Minnesota. You have to think that with Mudiay joining the cast of holdovers, they would go a step further.

The Mustangs might still do that. The cupboard isn’t bare to begin with, as Moore will still have a more mature Keith Frazier alongside him, for starters. From the beginning of March through the end of the season, Frazier shot 61 percent on three-pointers. He is the most likely to emerge alongside Moore. They’ll also add Xavier transfer Justin Martin, who will give them a nice boost alongside Kennedy up front. They could also get Texas Tech transfer Jordan Tolbert if the NCAA grants him a waiver.

Mudiay could make that group a little better, though. He and Moore could have been interchangeable at the two guard spots, and both could play off each other. The Mustangs could have two ball handlers on the floor, invaluable when teams press.

Looking beyond this year, there is a little more lost in this. In getting Mudiay to come there, Brown showed he can get an elite talent to the school. A successful year with him certainly wouldn’t hurt recruiting down the road. That he was able to get him there will count for something, but there’s nothing like player success to help future recruiting efforts.

It will be a bigger challenge for Brown, but SMU can still be a solid NCAA Tournament team in 2014-15. They need players like Frazier to make a nice leap, and some players behind their main guys like Sterling Brown and Ryan Manuel must improve a little more as well. Brown has revitalized the program, and 2014-15 could still be the next step in that process.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with a big game in the Big East, then move on to the sudden lack of undefeated teams, a big injury in the ACC, and a powerhouse that looks vulnerable in a stacked conference they have long ruled.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.