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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Recruiting: Is Jaylen Brown Considering an Overseas Option?

Jaylen Brown is The Big Fish in John Calipari's recruiting pond for 2015. Is he seriously considering taking his talents overseas rather than playing college basketball?

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Emmauel Mudiay was one of the top ranked point guards in the class of 2014. John Calipari was hot on his trail until Mudiay shocked everyone and picked Larry Brown's SMU Mustangs over the Kentucky Wildcats. Brown had his marquis recruit, someone that could help continue propelling his program towards Final Four contention.

And then Mudiay pulled another shocker. Instead of possibly playing only one season and then moving on to the NBA, he chose to fore-go college entirely and play professionally overseas. Why did he make this unforeseen decision? Many point to the now defunct Prime Prep Academy that was run by Deion Sanders, a school that Mudiay attended that had to deal with a myriad of NCAA accusations. Or was it his family's financial situation? This is what he contends as the primary reason for making the leap straight to the pros, a decision to help his family in need.

Mudiay isn't the first to do this and he certainly won't be the last. Brandon Jennings did this as the top-rated player in the class of 2008. Jennings played for an Italian team in the Euroleauge, signed a $1.65 million dollar contract, and an additional $2 million dollar contract with Under Armour. After a year of playing for the Italian team, he submitted his name to the NBA draft and was selected tenth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. He's still in the league and he's still making money as a Detroit Piston and has been quite successful in the NBA.

Jeremy Tyler was another highly touted recruit that opted to take the overseas route rather than going to college. After flirting with Syracuse and eventually committing to Louisville, Tyler skipped his senior year of high school and joined an Israeli basketball team. He had a rocky tenure with the club and eventually left the team after 10 games. He then played with a Japanese professional team for a season, and later was drafted as the 39th player in the 2011 NBA draft. His tenure with the NBA has been much less successful than Jennings. He's been nothing more than a journeyman and currently signed with the Lakers.

Emmanuel Mudiay is the latest to try his luck overseas, but he certainly won't be the last. Scout.com's Evan Daniels recently wrote an excellent piece on this very issue with Mudiay, and asked current Kentucky recruit Jaylen Brown whether or not he would consider making the jum over seas:

"Absolutely," Brown responded when asked if he would consider skipping college and playing overseas for a year.

"It’s something that you have to think about," Brown added. "College is one of the biggest decisions of your life, and that could be one of the biggest decisions of your life. I have a family to take care. I don’t want my mom to work anymore, so it’s something I’ll have to talk about and if it’s on the table for me then I’ll definitely think about it."

Brown has been able to consult the Jennings family for advice.

Brown, along with Malik Newman, are John Calipari's top two targets. Brown is set to visit during Big Blue Madness and has already had an in-home visit with Cal. It sounds as if he isn't only weighing his collegiate options; he is seriously considering not attending college at all.

It is possible that Brown, along with other players, will pay close attention to what happens with Mudiay as he embarks on his journey to play professional basketball in China. There is a lot to consider: how does he manage being on a team filled with grown men that have been playing basketball almost as long as he's been alive? How does he, as an 18 year old, adapt to living in a foreign land surrounded by an alien culture? Will his performance in China effect his draft status?

If Mudiay succeeds, then Brown may follow in his footsteps, thus leaving the university experience completely. Coaches like John Calipari would be wondering whether or not this is a trend that will continue to rise with young basketball recruits: they would rather make money as soon as possible than play basketball for an elite college program.

At this moment, it's wait and see. The 2015 class recruiting waters are murky as it is, but this added dimension further muddies the outlook. While Cal is looking at a watershed year for his current team, the failure or success of Mudiay could mark a watershed moment for high school basketball players. And the decision of Jaylen Brown could have a direct impact on John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats in the very near future.