Alliances forged Emmanuel Mudiay's path from Africa to U.S. to SMU

Wednesday June 4th, 2014
Because he isn't going to a blue-chip school, Emmanuel Mudiay could be the highest-impact recruit of his class.
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As Brown recalled, "I told Ed, 'Look, you're not gonna lose your job if you don't get Danny, but you'd be a pretty bad recruiter if we couldn't get your son.'" They got Danny, who led the Jayhawks to the 1988 national championship -- a title that earned Brown a job offer from the San Antonio Spurs, which he accepted during the '88 offseason. It wasn't until 2012, two years after being fired by the Charlotte Bobcats, that Brown finally returned to college coaching, signing a multi-year deal with SMU that pays him more than $2 million annually.

Jean-Micheal Mudiay probably wouldn't have been on SMU's recruiting radar if not for the talent of his younger brother, Emmanuel.
Jim Cowsert/USA Today

Kabeya was right 13 years earlier, too, when she assured her boys that she was leaving them for their good. Stephane graduated in 2013 with a communications degree from Texas Wesleyan, an NAIA college in Fort Worth where he also played basketball. Jean-Micheal is pursuing a degree in sports management from SMU while serving as a role player off the bench. If Emmanuel's trend-bucking choice of SMU pans out, he could be the first guard selected in the 2015 NBA draft. But before that, he, his brothers and Kabeya will spend one more year at home, in Texas, as a family succeeding after tragedy, war, separation and a move across continents. That, to Emmanuel, was the only alliance that mattered.

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