Draft 2K8 - O.J. Mayo


Age: 20
Hometown: Huntington, W.V.
College: USC
Position: Guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 200
Class: Freshman

Proved worthy of his pre-college hype with a fantastic close to his freshman year, in which he averaged 20.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Mayo has great all-around skills, can make plays both for himself and for teammates and is very strong on the ball. He has good size for a two-guard, deep range on his jump shot and is slick with the dribble. Mayo also showed the ability to be an outstanding perimeter defender, and is extremely competitive and fiery.

He's a good but streaky shooter, and like many young prospects has yet to develop a fluid, consistent midrange game. Because he's always trying to make plays, Mayo is turnover prone. Some have questioned if his best position is shooting guard, or ultimately point guard, but he's pretty solid with the ball in his hands. Others questioned if the hype he'd received since 8th-grade had gotten to him, but he erased much of that skepticism with his performance at USC.

Minnesota could use another scorer/playmaker, and Mayo is probably the best pure perimeter scorer in the draft. On the wing, he's a guy NBA defenses certainly couldn't ignore when converging on Al Jefferson. His overall game fits in immediately with what Minnesota runs offensively, and he'd be a step up in terms of defensive pressure on the perimeter. Of the Wolves, Rashad McCants draws the quickest comparison in terms of overall skill set (particularly offensively), while Mayo would be a nice foil to last year's No. 1 pick, Corey Brewer.

Sludge's take on O.J. MAYO

K-State vs. USC Game Blog
Round 1: Kansas State 80, USC 67

Chad Ford’s Top 100
"Mayo began the season as a potential No. 1 pick, dipped into the late lottery after a shaky start but ended the season on a high note. He may not be the next LeBron, but he does look like he has the tools to be an effective scorer in the league. He should go somewhere between 3 and 7 in the draft."

Draft Express
Mayo’s best attribute right now actually might be his shooting ability. He has deep range on his jumper, with picture perfect mechanics, and the ability to come off a screen and create separation elevating sharply off the floor. If his defender goes underneath the screen while he’s executing the pick and roll, he won’t hesitate to punish him instantaneously by knocking down a shot."

Real GM
He creates separation off the dribble to generate space to get his jumper off, but what is more impressive and refined is his knack for preserving his dribble, squaring up in a triple-threat position with purpose and intent. He is able to back defenders up with jab steps, which sets things up for when he does put the ball on the floor, where he is highly imaginative, utilizing a wide array of moves to score."

With the exception of LeBron James, few players can live up to the hype heaped on them at an early age. O.J. Mayo is one of those players. Projected as a NBA superstar since the seventh grade, Mayo has fallen out of favor as of late. Still, he is a spectacular basketball player and should have no trouble becoming an impact NBA player. Whether he will become the superstar he was projected to be is up in the air still."

ESPN.com: Miami takes close look at Mayo
Miami Heat president Pat Riley, general manager Randy Pfund and other Miami staff were there for a private workout with O.J. Mayo -- the first NBA team workout for Mayo.

AP: McHale - Allegations shouldn’t hurt Mayo in draft
If the Minnesota Timberwolves pass on Southern California’s O.J. Mayo with the third pick in the NBA draft, it won’t be because of allegations the freshman received cash and gifts from a promoter in violation of NCAA rules. Timberwolves basketball boss Kevin McHale said Tuesday night that the allegations made in an ESPN report will have no bearing on whether or not the Wolves consider him at No. 3 in the June 26 draft.

Draft Express: O.J. Mayo Interview

"I could be a point guard. Really though, I see myself as a guard, a guard who wants to win. But I think I would be better at the point guard position."

ESPN.com: Is Mayo the No. 2 Pick?
If the Bulls take Rose No. 1, that leads to an interesting scenario with the Heat at No. 2. Sources say the Heat want Rose, too, but if he's not on the board, a source familiar with the Heat's thinking told me that the team is interested in O.J. Mayo and think he might be a great fit in the backcourt with Dwyane Wade.

Fox Sports: Mayo or Bayless? Who should be No. 3?
The GM at pick No. 3 will likely be choosing between Arizona's Jerryd Bayless or USC's O.J. Mayo. Both are coming off stellar freshman seasons in the Pac-10. Both can be destructive forces on the offensive end of the floor. However, if a general manager values his job, he'll pick Mayo.

Sports Illustrated: Mayo Look Ahead to Draft
Since Southern California lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament, freshman guard O.J. Mayo has been working on his ball-handling skills. He has also been practicing for a moment he has waited for his entire life -- the walk from the green room to the podium during the NBA draft to shake hands with commissioner David Stern."

Chad Ford: How "Bad" Is He?
He's been arguably the most scrutinized young player, on and off the court, in the history of the game. Perhaps no basketball player, from the age of 15 and on, has been under more pressure to be everything we want him to be.

ESPN.com: Mayo’s Decision to Leave USC is Relatively Easy
Mayo, 20, announced last week that he was leaving the Trojans and turning pro after one season - no surprise since his college career was necessitated by the NBA's year-old rule that prevents players from joining the league right out of high school."

USC’s Mayo Says He Almost Stayed
Eight days after he made the actual decision that surprised no one, O.J. Mayo on Thursday described his decision to leave USC after one year and apply for the NBA draft. And he actually entertained the thought of returning for his sophomore season."

Sports Illustrated: A Fight Between Friends
If the story of last year's regular season was Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, transcendent freshmen who flashed like comets through the college game, then the story entering this season is UCLA's Love and USC's Mayo—with an added kick."

Chad Ford Mock Draft 1.0
No. 5 to Memphis

Ford's Mock Draft 3.0
No. 3 to Minnesota

Ford's Mock Draft 5.0
No. 3 to Minnesota

No. 5 to Memphis

Draft Express
No. 6 to New York

Reports Compiled By:

Mike Trudell
Wolves Reporter

- With contributing writers Matt Tiano and Jude Harder