High school basketball star Emmanuel Mudiay will be the first of the 2014 McDonald's All-Americans to get paid. The 6'5", five-star prospect played high school ball in Dallas, TX, and had committed to play for Larry Brown at SMU during the 2014-15 school year. He had also received substantial interest from John Calipari. However, Mudiay has officially spurned both Brown and Calipari, as sources tell Adrian Wojnarowksi that the Congo native will be playing for the Guangdong Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association during the upcoming season.
The deal is more lucrative than any room-and-board deal Mudiay's peers will be receiving at their respective universities next season. In fact, the deal is among the highest a high school basketball star has received since the NBA changed its draft eligibility policy in 2006. In general, choosing to play for overseas teams has been something of a rarity for stars in American high schools. The most notable examples are Brandon Jennings (now with the Detroit Pistons), and Jeremy Tyler, who currently plays for the New York Knicks. Tyler signed a $140K deal in 2009 to play for the Israeli squad Maccabi Haifa. Jennings was paid $1.65M to play for Lottomatica Roma in Italy.
Following Mudiay's de-commitment from SMU, rumors swirled that academic issues were preventing the prep star from playing in the NCAA. However, Mudiay released a statement through CBSSports.com citing financial hardship as the primary reason:
After sitting down with coach [Larry] Brown and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities. I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA, but I was tired of seeing my mom struggle. I am grateful for coach Brown's guidance and support and I am also appreciative of all the support from Prime Prep.
Now, Mudiay will finally be able to get his family the support they need. Next year, when many have projected Mudiay to go no. 1 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, they'll likely be receiving a lot more help.
The CBA regular season begins in early November.
[via Yahoo! Sports]