BY: Richard W. Humphrey
BASKETBALL: Summer basketball practice is taking place now. It began with the first summer school session which is winding up shortly. Teams are allowed two hours per week of practice on the court with the coaches plus time in the weight room. These practices are closed to the public and media per NCAA rules. Players can also play on their own, and they do. There actually were not all that many players working out during the first summer school session. Nic Moore for example has been playing with Kansas. Some of the incoming freshmen did not participate as their high school spring semesters had not ended when the first session of summer school began.
The second session of summer school begins July 6. More of the players are expected to participate then.
Keith Frazier has been seen in the weight room and is participating. Officially, SMU has no comment on his status after he sat out the spring semester for academic reasons.
The NBA draft takes place this week, and there is considerable interest in Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay was the SMU 2014 commit that decided to forego his scholarship to accept an offer to play in China, citing financial reasons. As luck would have it, he was injured and played only 12 games for the Guangdong Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association. That computed to about $100,000 per game played.
He was essentially out of sight in China, but not out of mind for NBA teams. He is projected to be selected among the first 10, and very likely among the first five picks in the draft.
Head Coach Larry Brown still wonders “What if” in regards to Mudiay playing at SMU. “If we’d had him on our team, we might have been playing for the national championship. In my heart, I believe we’d have been as good as anybody,” Brown told the Dallas Morning News this week.
GOLF: SMU’s Bryson Dechambeau claimed the individual championship in this year’s NCAA Golf Championship in Bradenton, Florida. The junior finished eight under par beating Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan by one stroke. His four day total was 280, a new SMU record. He became the first SMU golfer to win the individual National Championship.
He qualified for the U. S. Open at a qualifying event in Columbus, Ohio and has earned exemptions to two other PGA Tour events – The Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic in Memphis and the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
FOOTBALL: This month has been a banner month for new head coach Chad Morris’s recruiting efforts. The Mustangs commits rose to 14 on June 15, when they landed two linebackers from Mansfield Timberview – Michael Badejo and Craig Jim-Lawson.
Billy Embody, an SMU recruiting expert, was interviewed in the Dallas Morning News. Among his comments about Morris and his staff’s recruiting efforts so far, “It’s so much better than it was a year ago from a talent standpoint. It’s different in terms of the momentum they’ve built and how active they are on social media. The recruits are excited.
He particularly sited Badejo as a player that can have an immediate impact. He also noted that quarterback David Moore is a “ringleader”. “he’s reaching out to prospects and trying to get others to commit.”
Embody particularly noted the interest high school coaches are showing in SMU and the reception they are getting from Morris and his staff to assist them in their coaching jobs.
Verbal commitments are not binding, and the school does not comment on verbal commitments. For sure though, there is a buzz to SMU football recruiting that’s been absent for a long time.
He thinks wide receiver Joshua Shelmire can be a sleeper impact player. He’s 6′-2″ and is a track star with elite speed.
Reader Ryan Phillips wrote with an interesting note. He sent a list of the top 101 NFL players of the 2014 season. There were more than 2000 players last season among the 32 teams, so the top 101 represents less than 5%. There are about 125 division one schools, so the top 101 NFLers mathematically doesn’t allow every D-1 school to have a player on the list. SMU has two!
Kelvin Beechum, left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, came in at 67. A key stat for his play was his pass blocking efficiency. He was second best among all left tackles.
Emmanuel Sanders, a wide receiver with the Denver Broncos, checked in at 42. His key stat was a drop rate of 1.04, second best of all wide receivers.