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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Could SMU really be on the verge of outdueling Kentucky for the nation’s top point guard?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Emmanuel Mudiay (Rivals.com)

On Monday morning, with no context or explanation, heralded point guard Emmanuel Mudiay tweeted, "Sometimes u just have to shock the world!"

The meaning of that tweet became a bit more intriguing four days later when Rivals.com's No. 3 Class of 2014 recruit revealed he will announce his college destination on ESPNU during the Under Armour Elite 24 event on Saturday night.

Mudiay cut his list a few weeks ago to five schools: Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State and SMU. Most recruiting analysts consider Kentucky and SMU the favorites to land the Dallas native, but only a commitment to the hometown Mustangs would qualify as Mudiay pulling a stunner.

Based on the unexpectedly early timing of Mudiay's announcement, it appears SMU has a a real chance of securing a commitment on Saturday.

Mudiay reportedly has visited SMU a handful of times and wouldn't have taken an official visit to Kentucky until Big Blue Madness in October. Plus Kentucky reportedly just extended a scholarship offer to another point guard, Tyler Ulis, suggesting that the Wildcats may not be as confident about landing Mudiay as they once were.

If SMU can go head-to-head with the likes of Kentucky and Kansas and land a five-star recruit, it would be regarded as by far the biggest coup of Larry Brown's brief two-year tenure.

Kentucky is a perennial national contender, John Calipari groomed an NBA point guard five straight seasons from 2007 to 2012 and the long, athletic Mudiay is a perfect fit for the Wildcats' dribble drive offense. SMU was a perennial also-ran in Conference USA until the combination of Brown's arrival and a move to the American Athletic Conference raised the Mustangs' profile a bit.

The arrival of Mudiay for the 2014-15 season could be the boost SMU needs to rise in stature even further.

The 6-foot-4 Mudiay has a lightning-quick first step to the basket, impressive athleticism and the ability to finish well through contact at the rim. His outside shot remains a work in progress since he so rarely faces a defender he can't beat off the dribble, but his vision and decision-making with the ball in his hands has improved.

Pair Mudiay with 2013 McDonald's All-American Keith Frazier, heralded junior college big man Yanick Moreira and a wealth of depth, and SMU would have a chance to begin the 2014-15 season in the preseason top 20. Not bad for a program that hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1993 and barely mattered nationally prior to the controversial hiring of Brown.

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