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Emmanuel Mudiay Bypasses NCAA, Becomes A Professional

Forget college; Emmanuel Mudiay is now a professional basketball player. (Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

With the announcement that Emmanuel Mudiay would bypass the NCAA and become a pro for one year before declaring for the NBA draft, the Hardwood Paroxysm crew had thoughts on Mudiay’s decision, amateurism and the history of similar choices in the recent past. Enjoy.

Amin Vafa: So this Mudiay kid wants to play overseas instead of in the NCAA because of “amateurism concerns” per John Goodman.

SOMEONE SOUND THE CURTIS HARRIS AMATEURISM ALARM!

Curtis Harris: Good for him. *&^% amateurism.

Now back to enjoying this lovely art gallery I’m in.

Myles Wray: Thought for the floor and maybe especially for Curtis: Wouldn’t a ton of players be doing this same thing if Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler and Latavious Williams had better careers?

Amin Vafa: It’s possible. but from what i know about the coverage around Jennings, he had academic concerns and wouldn’t have been able to get into a school to play ball. He kinda had to go overseas.

Sounds like Mudiay was already committed and is now leaving.

Seth Partnow: I feel like amateurism is the monkey wrench in the works of ever having a constructive age limit debate.

Myles Wray: I guess I thought the Latavious Williams career path had the most potential to become a thing: graduates high school in 2009, joins the D-League that fall, plays all year, gets drafted in second round of 2010… and alas, has never appeared in the NBA. Unlike the ego involved with Jennings, or the kind of lunacy of Tyler leaving high school before graduating, this seems like a sane and responsible and pretty smart thing to do. If the first dude to do it was just a consistent NBA bench player, I think we would see a lot of high school prospects doing this on the annual.

Noam Schiller: The problem with Tyler wasn’t the idea, it was the execution. He was a young adult living alone in a foreign country, and it was evident everywhere. The Israeli league isn’t incredibly strong, but it is still inhabited by professional basketball players and if you’re going to mess around in practice, mess around in games, and have noisy parties that make your neighbors complain about you, you’ll be shown the door.

The only way that route could ever work out is if a player not only migrated overseas for a year, but was also a level-headed individual and brought a full support system with him. And given how the impetus for doing so is usually academic inadequacy and/or financial trouble, there just aren’t too many candidates for it that have those attributes.

Seth Partnow: Yeah, the problem is that for the kids who could make the alternative route really work, the existing system works JUST well enough that it doesn’t seem worth it to try, ex ante. (Basically what Noam said)

Kris Fenrich: I had hoped Jennings going abroad would open the floodgates, but I can’t imagine it’s an easy adjustment going from being the big man on an American high school campus to a foreign culture working with grown ass men — some of whom may be resentful of you.

In theory, the D-League option should be a feasible one, but it doesn’t have a fraction of college’s pull: nationally televised games, media exposure, extension of the high school culture, under table payments, etc. The high school/AAU-to-college pipeline with coaches and advisors is probably playing a big role too. And given the low salaries, it doesn’t seem like most guys are willing to make that move. Would be curious to hear what kind of guidance HS players w/academic issues are getting and who’s steering them away from D-League or international ball.

Derek James: I know a lot of D-League guys like the fact that they’re staying within the country and not separated from their families by an ocean or continent. Plus, while they may not get the TV exposure, they’re playing in front of people in the league that matters since they’re more easily visible to scouts and executives. And I know it’s hard to get a 19-year old to see the big picture and make the right business decision in the shorterm, but still. I think a part of it for a teenager may be, “Ooh, I get to be on ESPN if I tough it out in college!”

And until the cachet of professional European and D-League teams is at least comparable to the NCAA, here we stay. Perhaps Emmanuel Mudiay can help break down that barrier.

Hardwood Paroxysm