It’s a shame that Emmanuel Mudiay never made it to SMU for the 2014-15 season.
And yes, I say that selfishly. The kid was — well, is — a tremendous talent. My job is to watch and write about college basketball. When there are tremendous talents to watch and write about, my job is even more awesome.
Anyway, I’m not the only one that wishes that Mudiay hadn’t ended up in China last season. SMU head coach Larry Brown feels the same way.
“I felt if he was here we might have won a national championship and I was convinced that he would have a chance to be the first pick in the draft,” he said during an interview with the Dallas Morning News this week.
Let’s talk about this for a second, starting with the latter part.
Could Mudiay have been the first overall pick in the draft? I’m not so sure. I find it hard to believe that he could have put together a season that was as dominating as D’angelo Russell’s, and Russell still ended up being the No. 2 pick in the draft. I’m not sure anyone was ever going to knock Karl Towns off of that perch.
I also find it tough to believe that SMU could have won a national title with Mudiay in the fold last season. That’s not to say they wouldn’t have been awesome — we were set to have the Mustangs as a preseason top ten team and Mudiay as a Preseason First-Team All-American — but remember how good the best teams in the country were last year. Kentucky went 38-1, their only loss coming to a Wisconsin team that featured the National Player of the Year and put together the most efficient offense that we’ve ever seen in the KenPom era.
And they lost twice last season to Duke, who also won at Virginia, beat Notre Dame by 30 and won at Louisville.
SMU would have been really good. Mudiay probably would have been awesome. But I don’t think he was winning a national title or going No. 1 overall.
And if you need a reason why we need college basketball to come back soon, it’s this very post.