Emmanuel Mudiay Says He Draws Inspiration From Being Passed Over By The Lakers

Going into the 2015 NBA Draft, the consensus two best point guards were D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay. Russell had enjoyed a relatively high-profile status during his lone season at Ohio State, which saw him average 19.3 points, 5.7. rebounds and five assists per game, on 44 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent from downtown. It also  included an NCAA tournament appearance. When all was said and done, he was named the Big 10 Freshman of the Year, a consensus first team All-American, and finished fifth in voting for College Player of the Year award.

Mudiay, on the other hand, opted to forego his requisite season in the collegiate ranks – he had initially committed to SMU before Larry Brown’s abrupt departure – and instead spent the season playing professionally in the Chinese Basketball Association in relative obscurity. Due to injury, he played in just 10 regular-season games for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, but was certainly no slouch during his abbreviated stint as he averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game against the pros.

Still, when the draft rolled around this summer, there were a lot of question marks surrounding him, and those circumstances, more than anything, are what ultimately led the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on Mudiay with the No. 2 pick in favor of the more readily accessible and immediately recognizable Russell. Regardless, that’s something Mudiay perceives as both a slight and a source of motivation. Via Mark Medina of Inside the Lakers:

“They passed up on me; that’s definitely a motivation,” Mudiay told Los Angeles News Group after morning shootaround at West Chester High School. “They took another point guard ahead of me. I’m a point guard. So I guess they saw something in [Russell] that they didn’t see in me.”

The Nuggets are in Los Angeles tonight to take on Russell and the Lakers, so it will be an intriguing matchup to watch.

(Via Inside the Lakers)