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Emmanuel Mudiay signs 1-year, $1.2 million contract in China

The 6'5 point guard will spend next season playing in China.

USA Today

Emmanuel Mudiay will spend next season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the China Basketball Association on a one-year, $1.2 million contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Mudiay, who projects as one of the top picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, is also taking out a sizable insurance policy for his year in the Chinese league.

The point guard was originally committed to Larry Brown at SMU, but chose to go overseas instead so he could start getting paid. Mudiay and his two brothers were raised by a single mother who moved the family from Africa to the Dallas area when he was a child, and the family has reportedly been struggling to get by ever since.

There were questions over whether Mudiay would be cleared to play by the NCAA because of amateurism concerns. Mudiay starred at Prime Prep Academy his last two years of high school, but the school is in the process of being closed because of poor academic standards and faulty management by school officials. Another highly touted Prime Prep alum, current LSU forward Jordan Mickey, was initially ruled ineligible by the NCAA last season because his course work in high school didn't meet the NCAA's standards.

Mudiay will become the third major basketball prospect to spurn college to go overseas since the league barred high school players from entering the draft in 2006. Brandon Jennings was the first to do it as the top-rated player by ESPN in the class of 2008. He spent one up-and-down season in Italy before becoming the No. 10 pick in the 2009 draft. Forward Jeremy Tyler also made the jump overseas before being the No. 39 pick in the 2011 draft.

Guangdong has won eight championships, tied for the most in the Chinese league. They are led by Yi Jianlian, the 26-year-old power forward who was the No. 6 pick in the 2007 draft. Aaron Brooks and Smush Parker are among the notable former NBA players to play for the franchise.

Mudiay was SB Nation's No. 1 player in an initial 2015 mock draft.