Written by Matt Wixon
One and done? SMU's Emmanuel Mudiay a 'safe bet' to be top-10 pick in next year's NBA draft
High school seniors haven’t been eligible for the NBA draft since 2005, so Emmanuel Mudiay won’t be called to the stage Thursday. The former Prime Prep point guard, who signed with SMU in November, has to wait at least one more year.
The 6-5, 200-pound McDonald’s All-American is near the top of several NBA mock drafts for 2015. But if Mudiay were eligible for this year’s draft, where might he land?
“I think it’s a pretty safe bet that he would be somewhere in the top 10,” said Eric Bossi, national basketball analyst for Rivals.com, “and certainly a lottery pick.”
NBA scouts cannot speak on the record about underclassmen, but Bossi said NBA personnel often ask him about players who should be on their radar for the following draft.
“Emmanuel is certainly someone that I’ve been getting asked about,” Bossi said. “He’s got NBA size and athleticism, and he’s got a feel for the game that’s a little more developed.”
Those are some of the reasons many expect Mudiay to play only one year at SMU and then enter the draft. He’s one of several recent high school graduates who are expected to be “one and done” in college, including Duke signee Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor is No. 1 in DraftExpress.com’s 2015 mock draft, followed by Cliff Alexander, a 6-8 power forward who signed with Kansas, and Mudiay at No. 3. In NBADraft.net’s projections for next year, Mudiay is No. 1, followed by Okafor and Alexander.
Mudiay was SportsDay’s Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, when he led Arlington Grace Prep to a TAPPS state title. After two years at Grace Prep, he transferred to Prime Prep and led its nationally ranked team.
Mudiay, who is sometimes compared with NBA stars Derrick Rose and John Wall, averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists in his senior season at Prime Prep.
Jerry Meyer, the Director of Basketball Scouting for 247Sports.com, said Mudiay might’ve been a late lottery pick in this year’s draft. If not chosen among the 14 lottery picks, Mudiay would’ve been picked soon after, Meyer said.
It’s difficult to predict how recent high school graduates would fall in this year’s draft because they aren’t going through the NBA’s extensive evaluation process. But Mudiay’s potential would put him near the top of the board, Bossi said.
“When guys are drafting someone that young, it’s for the most part a draft on potential and where they can get him to within a few years of player development,” Bossi said. “Certainly Mudiay is a guy that NBA teams would be pretty excited about.”
It’s all projections right now. But Ray Forsett, who coached Mudiay for two years at Grace Prep and two at Prime Prep, expects Mudiay to be a top-three pick, regardless of how long he stays at SMU.
“He is a really special talent,” Forsett said, “and he’s still getting better because he’s really working on his craft.”