Emmanuel Mudiay, our third-rated prospect in the 2015 NBA Draft, has signed a one year contract with Guangdong of the Chinese Basketball Association that will pay him $1.2 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and asia-basket.net.
Guangdong Southern Tigers (CBA) signed 18-year old DR Congolese guard Emmanuel Mudiay (196-86kg-96). … He is the youngest import player ever signing pro contract in Chinese league. … He was selected to play in prestiguous events for high school players this year: HS McDonald’s All-American Game, Nike Hoop Summit (World Team Selection) and Jordan Brand Classic National Game.
Jeff Borzello of CBSSports had noted previously that Mudiay had offers in Asia, so this deal doesn’t particularly come as a surprise. It’s a lucrative move for Mudiay, who Wojnarowski also notes has taken out a large insurance policy on this season in China.
Whether or not this is a smart move for his development remains to be seen though. He should be able to dominate the league athletically and make an immediate impact, but there are some obstacles that could stand in his path. Jeff Goodman of ESPN talked to Khalif Wyatt (formerly of Temple), who gave him the run-down on his experience with Guangdong last season.
“It’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to perform every night. Could be difficult for a high school kid. Toughest part playing wise is GM of team sits on the bench. Socially hardest thing will be fact nobody really speaks English.”
These thoughts are very valid, and obviously the social obstacles are going to be difficult for Mudiay to overcome. However, the tools are there for Mudiay to overcome this. He’s already a pretty heady basketball player offensively, along with being a tremendous athlete, and that should help the transition. A move like this probably won’t affect his basketball development too adversely.
The bigger repercussions could come on his draft stock. Right now, Mudiay was one of four players that I considered for the top spot on my big board, ultimately sliding him in at third. A rough year here isn’t going to be enough to slide him out of the top-10 or anything. He has too much talent for something like that to happen. However, a tough year could take him out of the conversation for the first overall pick depending on how the other collegiate freshmen play. Ultimately, taking the financial security that comes along with this contract probably made the most sense for his family. I just hope it doesn’t come back to hurt him in the end.