Wolves Select O.J. Mayo


The Timberwolves selected USC guard O.J. Mayo with the third overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

After countless hours of speculation and trade talk, Minnesota's brain trust decided that Mayo was simply too good not to snatch up.

"If they need me at the point guard position, I’ll play the point guard position; if they need me at the two, I’ll play (shooting guard)," said Mayo to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith after his selection. "I’m just happy to be a part of the organization and just ready to roll."

"He's the whole package," said Wolves Assistant General Manager Fred Hoiberg at the Wolves' Draft Party. "We went out and saw him two Saturdays ago and he just blew us away. The guy can flat out stroke the basketball. He can spread the court so that Al (Jefferson) can operate on the block ... The most impressive part was his interview after the workout. You guys are going to love him."

The roar throughout Target Center when David Stern spoke Mayo's name suggested that Minnesota's fans have, largely, already embraced the young combo guard.

In his freshman season at USC, Mayo led his team in scoring (20.7 ppg), assists (3.1 apg) and steals (1.6 spg) en route to earning First Team All-Pac-10 honors and Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors. He was a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards and was also named to the All-Pac-10 Tournament Team.

Mayo ranked second in the Pac-10 in scoring and set USC single-season freshman records for scoring average (20.7 ppg), points scored (684) and three-pointers made (88). He tallied 20-plus points in 19 games and topped 30 points four times, including a career-best 37 at Arizona State on March 1 when he shot 7-for-10 from behind the arc. The Wolves also hold the 31st and 34th selections in tonight's NBA Draft.

Also impressed with Minnesota's selection was ESPN's Draft 2008 panel:

"He’s ready to step into the league and play right away more so than any other guard in this draft," said analyst Jay Bilas. "He’s been groomed for this almost his entire life. The thing I like most about O.J. Mayo is that this young man steps on the floor and competes. He wants to be a basketball player, he wants to be a great basketball player and he works at it.

"He was a really good teammate last year at Southern Cal and he gets out and guards people … I think he’s going to be a really good NBA player."

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