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College Basketball about To Get Better: Emmanuel Mudiay

Up until a month ago, I had been in the "don't pay college athletes" boat but jumped ship when I saw "Schooled," a documentary on Netflix that every single sports lover should watch. I got schooled, learned more than I knew was out there to know, and have since had to admit to friends whom I've argued with that these kids should be paid.

I'm not going to get into why I believe so and am definitely 100-percent unconcerned with the other side of the argument now. Just watch the documentary. Rationality will take over from there.

But because of one kid's decision, college basketball could get a lot better...for college basketball players.

Emmanuel Mudiay, a 6'5" guard who just graduated from high school, has been ranked as one of the best, if not the best, prospect about to head to college. Except he's not heading to college.

Instead, he signed a one-year deal with some pro team in China. He'll be playing around the same number of games as a college kid, will get paid $1.25 million more than the average American student athlete, and he'll probably be getting a better education as well.

This is awesome. Could blaze trails. Could start a revolution.

Here's Why:

The college game doesn't offer any protection to their players if they get hurt, which means that they could lose their opportunity for education through voiding a scholarship, which means they could lose their opportunity for better employment, which means that the colleges that sign these kids never cared about "student" part of student athlete. It's a facade of education, where the number one thing that they're learning is that in the United States of America big business tries to pay its employees little as possible in order to monopolize the movement of funds in a singular direction.

So, yes, every student athlete comes away with some sort of economics degree, I guess.

It's awesome because if this works out for Emmanuel Mudiay, it could improve the way that the NCAA treats its players. Maybe, just maybe, some top recruits see the opportunity to become NBA eligible and make $1 million without the pressure of going to classes they don't care about, not having any money and not being allowed to get a job, traveling the larger parts of the United States frequently, and making a whole bunch of rich guys richer.

Instead they can solely focus on basketball and get paid to do so. This could put a dent, even if initially small, in the college product. And when the product declines (except for in film or music for some bizarre reason), the money doesn't flow as well. If that happens, perhaps the NCAA may rethink their stance on the "student" athletes being compensated for their work or at least fairly handled.

Maybe this changes how Oklahoma City Thunder handles (or mishandles) a guy like Josh Huestis after requesting him to not sign his rookie deal (worth between $750 thousand and $1.1 million) so he can make $25 thousand playing for a shitty D-League team because ownership, worth well over half-a-billion dollars, doesn't want to fork out this kid's due.

Think about this: Josh Huestis was projected in the 45-50 range of the draft, went 29th because he cut a deal to not sign his rookie deal. OKC actually went out of their way to draft a worse player so they help themselves avoid flirting with the luxury tax. So, in a way, it works out for a guy like Huestis who could have gotten a non-guaranteed deal and not made the NBA. But there is an absurdity here.

The Huestis example should be case in point about how the collegiate aspect of NCAA basketball is a joke. If Huestis had any sort of education, he would know how to use a calculator, that 25-thousand is 0.000005 of one-half billion. It's literally worth less than a penny is to a dollar, or a penny to a thousand dollars.He would at least know that he's going to be making less than 4% what he deserves after being drafted 29th in June according to the NBA standards of guaranteed contracts.

That should be hyperbole. But look at the numbers.

Despite that, there is something here worth mentioning: while none of us, most likely, can identify with millions of dollars on a yearly basis, we can identify with several things here:

1) We all want to be compensated for the work that we do. Duh.

2) Everything is relative. We may look at college players making money as unnecessary because they're being compensated in other ways, but somebody, and I mean a very selective few men and women, have turned these kids into a billion dollar industry. If it's billions, and it is, there should be some sort of spread-the-wealth mentality in the way that we commoners view the whole thing.

While I don't think it's okay to make $1 million playing basketball, I also believe that a half-billion dollar team like OKC shouldn't be able to not pay their players in the name of pinching pennies.

3) The owners (whether NBA or NCAA) make more money than highly scrutinized players, which is absurd (that they are less scrutinized). They've done a terrific job of controlling public opinion, which is exactly why the lockouts in the NBA are going to happen as often as possible with the players looking villainous. It's much easier to put LeBron James' salary in the spotlight because we see his face very often. Nobody cares who Clay Bennet is or that he bought the Supersonics for $200 million less than it's now estimated worth. And let's be honest, if the irrelevant Milwaukee Bucks (yes, that 15-win Milwaukee Bucks) can be bought at the same amount as the estimated worth of the Thunder, the Thunder would sell for way more than the estimate and most likely well over a billion, which makes the Huestis case looking more ridiculous.

The truth is that both the NCAA and NBA are businesses. Both will outlast every player currently in their systems. It's easy for them to take advantage of kids in their teens who play basketball for the love of it.

Hopefully, and I'm going to be following this closely as it progresses, Emmanuel Mudiay finds incredible success while in China. Hopefully, he'll be able to be drafted to the NBA in 2015 in the top-10. If he does, which I'm praying happens, it would be awesome to see all NBA prospects look at the college business as an outdated model that preys on the naivety of their youth, correctly change the misnomer "student athlete" to its correct archaic name of indentured servitude, take their talents across the pond(s) to where they can be compensated properly like any other worker, where they can get real culture, afford an actual education, and maybe take some viewers with them.

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.