Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
PHILADELPHIA — The big Emmanuel Mudiay-Rashad Vaughn matchup ended not with a bang, but a whimper.
There was never much excitement between the two players and it ended with the 6-foot-5 Mudiay dribbling the clock out in a 68-58 win with Kentucky’s John Calipari, SMU’s Larry Brown, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Minnesota’s Richard Pitino, Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford, and North Carolina’s Hubert Davis among those watching courtside at the Reebok Classic Breakout.
Mudiay finished with eight points on 3-for-7 shooting in half a game, and Vaughn tallied 12 points on 4-for-8. The two players went a combined 0-for-5 from the arc.
“Great player, great competition, so it’s cool,” Mudiay said of the game. “You always gotta win, I don’t care if it’s a camp or not. If I win, I’m satisfied, regardless of how I play. That just shows my competitive nature, that just shows how I am.”
(For more on Vaughn and his potential package deal with Josh Perkins, click here.)
Mudiay said he’s trying to avoid focusing on coaches, but it was hard to miss Calipari and Brown sitting next to each other courtside. Both schools are in hot pursuit of the long, athletic point guard from Dallas Prime Prep.
“I noticed them, they wink at me here and there,” Mudiay said. “It will be a great opportunity to play for either of them, so when that decision time comes, I will see.”
As of now, Mudiay has only slated an official visit to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness Oct. 18.
“I know for sure I’m going to the Blue Madness thing out there in Kentucky,” Mudiay said.
Calipari’s track record with point guards — Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Marquis Teague — speaks for itself.
Kentucky has offered only two 2014 point guards in Mudiay and Tyus Jones, but the conventional wisdom is that Jones could end up at Duke.
“He’s coached so many great point guards so it’s crazy so if I was to go there it would be nothing new to him,” Mudiay said of Calipari. “He’s already used to the system. He’s great with putting guys in the league. That’s my dream, hopefully I can do that one day.”
Other than Kentucky, he has no visits planned.
He has previously said he would like to visit Arizona, Baylor, N.C. State and SMU as well.
“I’m going to cut my list down to five at the end of this month,” he said.
SMU remains an attractive option for the Dallas native.
“It’s only 20 minutes away from my house,” he said with a smile. “And they got a legend right there in the office with Larry Brown. And the thing about Larry Brown that I love is, he doesn’t just talk to me about basketball. He talks to me about family and life. And that’s a big thing to me. And he’s religious, and I’m religious.”
He added of SMU: “That’s like in the back yard, that’s at home, so I got family and friends over there. They show me a lot of love and support, that would definitely be great.”
Baylor is in a similar boat, also close to home.
“Great person, they a Christian school so that’s a big thing for me and they’re not too far from the house, either,” he said. “They’re only an hour away.”
For the near term, Mudiay said he’s working on becoming a better shooter.
“Being more consistent with my shooting, I’m working on that, I feel like I’m getting better at that,” he said.
Next week, Mudiay will suit up with the West team at the Nike Global Challenge, alongside Stanley Johnson, Kameron Chatman, Ivan Raab, Kelly Oubre, Justise Winslow and others.
After that he will cut his list.
“I’m going to cut my list down at the end of the month,” he said. “I’ll cut it to five and that’s the five [visits] that I’m going to take.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.