Remember the days when high school superstars could skip college and go straight to the NBA?
After playing his last two years of high school at Prime Prep in Dallas (a school co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders), Emmanuel Mudiay is doing just that (well not quite the NBA but…).
He has rejected a full scholarship and a chance to play under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown at Southern Methodist University to play one-year in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
Mudiay, who publicly stated his family being in much need of financial aid has signed a one-year $1.2 million contract with the Guangdong South Tigers.
He was born in Zaire and spent some time in Congo before moving to the United States due to the second Congo war in the late 90s. The 6’5 point guard was the top ranked high school senior of his class. He is often compared to Kyrie Irving or Brandon Jennings.
Guangdong is a Chinese basketball powerhouse anchored by former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian. Last year, after finishing first overall in the season they fell to Stephon Marbury and the Beijing Ducks in the CBA semi-finals.
Mudiay will face a tough challenge against some very skilled foreign guards but should work to his advantage when he takes the leap to the NBA. The CBA game is more guided towards one-on-one play rather than the college game that requires a lot of set offenses with a 35 second shot-clock.
You might remember a high school phenom in 2008 named Brandon Jennings who skipped college to play pro basketball in Italy. His NBA career turned out to be just fine. With the ongoing debate on NCAA’s decision to not pay athletes one can only assume that taking a $1.2 million salary overseas before turning pro in the NBA is going to get more and more popular.