On Friday afternoon, SMU received word that Virginia Tech transfer Ben Emelogu had been granted a waiver by the NCAA and would be eligible to play this season.
In 22 games at Virginia Tech, the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 10.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 37 percent from three. He left the program in July, months after head coach James Johnson was relieved of his duties. Ten days later, he landed at SMU.
“He’s just a really solid player,” Brown told reporters on Friday. “He can play multiple positions. He’s tough. You’re a captain as a freshman of a major college, an ACC program, that speaks volumes to the character and leadership qualities. I think now he knows he can play, he’ll make huge steps in that regard.”
From a leadership aspect, SMU is looking to fill the void left behind by graduating seniors Nick Russell and Shawn Williams, both of whom started 36 of 37 games for the Mustangs last season. So adding a player who was named captain of his previous school before ever playing a college game can certainly help in that department. On the floor, SMU dealt with Emmanuel Mudiay’s decision to play professionally in China during the middle of the July live period, leaving little to no room to recruit another guard, none of whom would have had the impact of the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2014.
Emelogu is the second transfer to be immediately eligible to play at SMU this season. In the spring, Xavier wing Justin Martin enrolled at SMU and under the graduate transfer rule is allowed to play in his final season without sitting out the year.
SMU opens the season on Nov. 14 against Lamar at Moody Coliseum, three days before a huge non-conference game on the road against Gonzaga.