When SMU administrators announced Larry Brown as their head coach in the spring of 2012, eyebrows rose. Brown had a Hall of Fame pedigree, but could he keep some of Dallas' big-time talent at home and rebuild the Mustangs program? Saturday offered more proof that he's still got it.
Playing in the Under Armour Elite 24, Emmanuel Mudiay the nation's No. 3 player in the class of 2014, announced that he will play for Brown in college.
A 6-foot-4 point guard and hometown product from Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep, Mudiay initially indicated he would visit all five of his finalists. However, after several recent trips to the SMU campus he decided that visits to Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State were unnecessary.
"It's been a long process, and I was ready to get it over with," Mudiay told Rivals.com. "That's where my heart was at, and I'm real excited about it."
After hauling in a top 15 recruiting class that included Dallas-bred shooting guard Keith Frazier in 2013, Brown and his staff are off to a great start in 2014 with Mudiay in the fold.
One of the more athletic players in the country regardless of position, Mudiay blends speed, vision, physicality and a versatile game. He is a floor general who gets to the rim at will, scores off the dribble and is one of the premier defenders at his position.
The experience of his future head coach played a big part in Mudiay's decision, but he's not expecting Brown to make big changes to his game. There will certainly be adjustments, but the freedom to make plays will be there.
"I'm just going to try and play my game and do what I can do to help the team win," Mudiay said. "Whatever Coach needs me to do, I'm going to do my part. You know, doing what I'm doing now and getting my teammates better. Playing in attack mode and not really changing who I am."
Mudiay is SMU's first commitment from the class of 2014, and there is little doubt that the Mustangs will try to use him to their advantage on the recruiting trail, especially when it comes to chasing after players such as the nation's No. 6 prospect -- and another Dallas-area product -- power forward Myles Turner.
For his part, Mudiay is satisfied with the pieces that will be in place when he arrives on campus and he trusts that his coaches will add more talent. Now, he's focused on adding strength so that he's ready to play up to the level of his immense potential.
"During this offseason I've been getting stronger, so I'm definitely going to keep working on that so I can play at the highest level," Mudiay said. "They are grown men who can be 22 or 23 years old and I'm going to be 18, so I've just got to be ready."
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