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One of the many people who believe Emmanuel Mudiay erred by turning pro is the man who would have coached the nation's No. 1 point guard prospect in college.
SMU coach Larry Brown told CBSSports.com on Thursday that he remains close with Mudiay, but he believes the Texas native made "a bad decision" signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract with a Chinese pro team rather than playing for the Mustangs.
"I thought it was a bad decision but I'm going to support him because he decided to come with us because he trusted us and thought we could help him," Brown said.
"My theory is Emmanuel is going to make it. He's that good and he's a great kid. But it's not going to be good for everybody. And I'm afraid that there's a lot of people out there that are going to push people in that direction. Unfortunately, there's agents and so-called agents pushing them that way and I worry about that. If the NBA would ever get a hold of this thing and make it like baseball, it would be better."
Assessing Brown's comment requires addressing each part of what he said individually.
I'm not so sure Mudiay made a bad decision simply because of the concerns regarding his eligibility at SMU. While it's certainly possible Mudiay could damage his NBA draft stock if he struggles to adapt to living in a foreign country and playing against grown men, it's also possible the NCAA would have sidelined him for most or even all of next season at SMU. Concerns about the viability of the courses he took at Prime Prep were a potential problem, as were potential amateurism issues.
The second part of what Brown said certainly has validity because there will certainly be plenty of people paying attention to how Mudiay does and evaluating if it's an option for them. I suspect the top prospects who will follow in Mudiay's footsteps are mostly guys with one-and-done aspirations and eligibility concerns that could preclude them from playing in college as freshmen, but the persuasive powers of agents and runners can be a factor.
And, lastly, there's Brown touting the baseball draft model in which prospects either turn pro out of high school or spend at least three years in college before they're draft-eligible again. Let me be clear on this: That's never going to happen.
The NBA is the only entity with the power to alter the draft rules, and the baseball model is the least attractive option for the league owners. They'd still have to gamble on top high school prospects without seeing them play at all in college, yet they'd have to wait at least three years to nab the players who have proven themselves NBA-ready.
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