The Bright Future of Mustang Basketball

SMU Mustang basketball has a bright future ahead

The Southern Methodist University Mustangs have never been known as a dominant basketball program. They have never won a national title and haven’t appeared in the NCAA tournament since 1993, which resulted in a first round loss to BYU.

In 2012, legendary coach Larry Brown took the reigns as head coach of the Mustangs with the hopes of turning the below average program into a tournament contender. In his first season as coach, the team finished 15-17, a slight improvement from the previous year of 13-19. The immediate results don’t seem like much, but Brown’s coaching and recruiting skillset are shaping a fine future for SMU as a basketball program.

The Mustangs are young and full of potential. They returned all five of their starters from last year’s team and only have two seniors on the roster this year.  Aside from this, SMU also added three talented transfers to their roster that are eligible for this season: Talented guards, Nic Moore from Illinois State, Josiah Turner from Arizona, and Crandall Head from Illinois. Thus far, the team boasts a 5-1 record settling near the top of a competitive AAC conference.

One of those returning seniors, Nick Russell, was second on the team in points last season (14.3) and first in assists (4.3) and minutes (35.9). His leadership and contribution will be a key factor in this young, talented team’s success this season. Other returning SMU starters include junior guard Ryan Manuel (12.1ppg) and senior forward Shawn Williams (8.5ppg).

Perhaps the most notable new talent is freshman guard Keith Frazier. Frazier was a 4-star recruit and McDonald’s All American coming out of Kimball High School in Dallas, Texas. Ranked 46th overall by ESPN for the class of 2013, Frazier, along with 3-star shooting guard Sterling Brown, were Larry Brown’s first two notable signees.

This past August, Brown beat out Kentucky’s John Calipari and Kansas’ Bill Self in the recruitment of one of the most sought out point guards in Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay plays his high school ball at Prime Prep Academy in Dallas, Texas and is great at penetrating to the basket and either finishing on his own or finding the open man. Being the 5th overall ranked prospect according to ESPN’s top 100, any elite program was an option for Mudiay, but he chose to stay in his home state of Texas. Believed by many to be the best high school point guard in the nation, this could be a starting point for top recruits to follow in his footsteps and head over to SMU. Mudiay is the only top 100 prospect that Brown has gotten to commit this year, but he may not be the last.

One of few top 100 talents still yet to commit is 70th ranked Jonah Bolden out of Findlay Prep in Nevada. The 6’9” forward has recently announced that he has trimmed his list of top schools to six: Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, SMU and UCLA. He recently stated in an interview to that Indiana, Louisville, SMU, and UCLA are “the ones that are working on me hard right now.”

Coach Brown has never been known to stay at an organization for a long period of time, but he knows how to win and the foundation he is setting at SMU has the potential to build for many years to come. The Mustang basketball program has not been accustomed to winning over the past 20 years, but basketball fans across the nation can expect this to change.