DALLAS -- Prime Prep academy basketball standout and SMU commit Emmanuel Mudiay won't be playing in University Park after all.
Mudiay, one of the top high school players in the country last year, announced Monday he won't be attending SMU and will instead play overseas next year.
“I was excited about going to SMU and playing basketball for Coach [Larry] Brown but grew tired of seeing my mom struggle, and I sat down with Coach Brown and my family and decided the best way for me to provide for my mom is to forego college and pursue other basketball opportunities," Mudiay said in a statement.
In a statement, Brown said Mudiay "really wants to alleviate some of the challenges his family faces and recognizes he has an opportunity to help them now."
He brushed off the thought that eligibility issues were responsible for his decision.
"I am grateful to Prime Prep. I am grateful to [Prime Prep Head Basketball Coach Ray] Forsett and his staff for providing for the development of my game, my role as a man and my basketball abilities," Mudiay said. "This is in no way shape or form an academic or an eligibility issue.”
Last year, former Prime Prep players Karviar Shepherd and Jordan Mickey were ruled ineligible by the NCAA because they took classes at Prime Prep that the NCAA decided did not qualify as a core high school courses. The NCAA has flagged seven courses at Prime Prep that do not qualify as core courses.
Prime Prep founder Deion Sanders confirmed Mudiay's decision to News 8 Monday.
“I’m proud of the kid, I’m happy for the kid," Sanders said. "I know his family, I know his mother, and I know it’s not easy for her. She’s a single mom, she’s a woman of God, and a wonderful woman and I’m just happy he can do something and rescue his mother. I’m proud of Emmanuel. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t use profanity. He’s a great kid, a great student and I’m just happy for him. He was an asset at Prime Prep.”
Mudiay, a point guard, was born in Zaire and fled the Congo to come to the U.S. as a child. He is widely considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 NBA draft. He averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists a game as a senior last season.
Yahoo Sports reports the Chinese Basketball Association has been discussed as a possible destination for Mudiay. By foregoing his amateur status, he can play professionally immediately in another country and still be eligible for the 2015 draft.
The Associated Press contributed to this story