Emmanuel Mudiay: Playing in China 'gave me a better challenge'
Emmanuel Mudiay, one of the top prospects in the upcoming NBA draft, said in an interview with Scout.com playing overseas "gave me a better challenge than college would have given me."
Mudiay graduated from Prime Prep Academy in Dallas and was slated to be part of the class of 2014 along with other highly touted recruits including Duke's Jahlil Okafor, Kansas' Cliff Alexander and others. Scout.com's Rivals150 rankings considered Mudiay the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2014, sandwiched between Okafor at No. 1 and Arizona's Stanley Johnson at No. 3.
Mudiay eschewed college basketball and instead signed a contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers reportedly worth more than $1 million. The 6'5" point guard also signed a "lucrative and incentive based endorsement deal" with Under Armour, reports Scout.com.
[daily_cut.college basketball]Over 12 games in China, Mudiay averaged 18 points, four rebounds and about four assists.
"Honestly it challenged me as a basketball player," Mudiay said to Scout.com "I’m not saying I’m better than everybody in college, but I felt like it gave me a better challenge than college would have given me.
"Will Bynum, Jeff Adrien, Stephon Marbury, Al Harrington, Willie Warren, all of the players I was playing against told me what to expect in the league. They’ve been there and played there. I played against a lot of NBA players and it got the best out of me. The first game against Stephon Marbury was an eye opener. I had 18 or something like that, but it felt different. He talked to me after the game and he gave me advice on how to play over there. After he told me that, my game started going up and up."
Mudiay sustained an ankle injury that plagued him during the season, but SI.com's latest NBA Big Board moved him up one spot to No. 3 last week.
As has been noted before, Mudiay’s injury-plagued season in China has kept him off the NBA radar. It hasn’t created skeptics—scouts are still enamored with his scoring point guard potential—so much as curiosity. He returned from China this week and plans to begin his workouts to prepare for the draft next week. A strong combine will likely cement Mudiay’s place as the first point guard off the board.
- Mike Fiammetta