Emmanuel Mudiay, who was set to lace up at point guard in the fall for Southern Methodist University, will instead play overseas.
The star incoming freshman is expected to vie for the top pick of next year's draft at point guard. He chose Larry Brown's Mustangs over Kentucky and Kansas, but informed the coach recently that he was going to pursue an international paycheck instead.
"It's all about the kid," Brown said to Sports Illustrated. "I support the kid."
Mudiay, a 6-foot-5 point guard, averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists a game while leading Prime Prep High School to a 30-6 record. He rose as high as No. 2 on Scout.com's 2014 rankings and No. 5 on ESPN's list.
In an interview with ESPN, Brown said that Mudiay was the most special point guard he had ever seen at 18 years old. In a statement, Brown said the decision wasn't made due to academics - Mudiay had already seen his credits accepted by the Mustangs - but because of financial hardship.
Mudiay gave a statement to Sports Illustrated about the decision, through his brother, Stephane. He explained that his family had decided that the best way for him to provide for his mother was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities.
While college players are forbidden to earn a paycheck or make money off of their fame, international players have no such limitations.
Mudiay was expected to leave the Mustangs after a year and pursue professional opportunities. Now he'll get a head start on that career, in a path that is similar to the one Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings took out of high school.
Jennings was a star at Oak Hill Academy, but decided to play for Italian club Lottomatica Roma instead of the University of Arizona.
That decision paid off when Jennings was selected as the 10th overall pick by the Bucks. He was traded to the Detroit Pistons last season.
Mudiay was the only recruit for SMU in the 2014 class, meaning that the team will be short on youth without his presence. It was considered a coup when Brown swiped him away from more heralded programs and the coach's presence, as a legendary NBA and college coach, which was one of the biggest draws for the teenager with pro potential.
It also helped that the family lived in Arlington, Texas, which is within the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where SMU is also located.
Possible Other Reasons
There are rumors that Mudiay's decision isn't purely based on finances.
Concerns over an NCAA investigation into his eligibility "did play a role," according to Sports Illustrated's sources. Those eligibility questions stemmed from the fact that Prime Prep has seen many of its athletes ruled academically ineligible over the years.
The decision protects Mudiay from what would be a very public embarrassment if he was ruled ineligible and then forced to sit out the entire season. This way, he can be certain that he will play basketball next season and will avoid any sort of knock on his character, while also getting draw a paycheck as a bonus.