Is Kentucky No Longer Leader for Emmanuel Mudiay?
Since John Calipari has come to Lexington, the Kentucky Wildcats have always had a prominent point guard to lead them. With the exception of last season, Kentucky had three-straight point guards go from Kentucky to the NBA in one season. Calipari’s dribble-drive-motion offense seems to unleash the point guard to lead the attack. With each point guard not spending more than one season in Lexington, Calipari is always recruiting his next great leader. In 2014, his No. 1 target has always been Emmanuel Mudiay. Kentucky has always been the favorite to land his services, that is until Friday night.
Word started coming down from Twitter that Mudiay is set to make his college decision at tomorrow night’s Under Armour Elite 24 game. There is also a big rumor going around that he will pick Southern Methodist and Larry Brown over Kentucky and Calipari. The Wildcats have recently been eliminated from Josh Perkins‘ recruitment and then offered to Chicago-area point guard Tyler Ulis. Perkins wanted to play in Lexington, but Calipari never gave him an offer. Mudiay tweeted something last week about “shocking the world,” and picking SMU over Kentucky would do just that. Baylor is still in the mix as well, but the Bears appear to take a backseat to the ‘Cats and SMU.
Calipari has made his living recruiting top-ranked point guards. Derrick Rose, John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague have all spent one season with Calipari and then left for the riches of the NBA. Rose and Wall became No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft, Knight was selected in the lottery and Teague was a first rounder. Calipari has also made a living by recruiting in the state of Texas.
His current incoming point guard (Aaron Harrison), shooting guard (Andrew Harrison) and power forward (Julius Randle) were all ranked No. 1 at their respective positions and hail from the Lone Star State. Can Larry Brown really compete and steal this one away from Calipari?
Brown is a legendary coach in his own right. Since returning to the college ranks, he has yet to make a big splash in the recruiting world. The addition of Mudiay could make a tidal wave at SMU. Mudiay has long been known to only have one official visit scheduled, and that was to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness. He has unofficially been to SMU at least five times, and would obviously not go to Lexington if he commits to the Mustangs. Kentucky’s recruitment of Ulis could have been a sign that Calipari was not confident in getting Mudiay. Will Calipari give a very quick offer to Perkins?
Could this all be a publicity stunt? If Mudiay is a Kentucky lock, why would anyone want to watch his decision? Sure, Kentucky fans will be all tuned in, but now SMU and Baylor fans will be sitting down and planning their evenings around his announcement. He would also bring some more publicity to the Under Armour Elite 24 game by getting more people to question his ultimate destination. All anyone can do now is tune in and find out.
Brian Lewis is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can add him to your network on Google for more of his work.