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Ovinton J'Anthony "O. J." Mayo (born November 5, 1987) is an American professional basketball player. He played one season of college basketball for the USC Trojans while earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors. The team forfeited all of its wins that season and Mayo lost his remaining three years of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility after it was ruled he received improper benefits. Mayo entered the 2008 NBA draft and was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the third overall pick, but later traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies. He played four seasons with Memphis. In 2011, he tested positive for a banned steroid and was suspended by the NBA for 10 games. Mayo signed as a free agent with Dallas in 2012, and with Milwaukee in 2013. On July 1, 2016, Mayo was dismissed from the NBA for violating the league's anti-drug program.

High school career

Mayo began playing high school basketball at Rose Hill Christian High School in Ashland, Kentucky. In Kentucky, grade schoolers can play high school basketball, and Mayo averaged 23.1 points for Rose Hill's varsity team while in seventh grade. In eighth grade, he tallied 20.5 points per game and was named a first-team all-state player by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Mayo then moved to suburban Cincinnati to live with his club team coach Dwaine Barnes. (Mayo referred to him as his "grandfather" but the two aren't related.)[2] Mayo was still in eighth grade when he enrolled at North College Hill High School in April 2003. The Cincinnati Enquirer and local television stations sent reporters to cover Mayo's first day of school at NCH.[3]

The 18-year-old junior guard was selected as Mr. Basketball of Ohio for the second consecutive season, in addition to being named Associated Press Division III Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He averaged nearly 29 points, nine rebounds, and six assists per game. He also led his team to three consecutive AP poll titles and garnered much attention from the media, appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated among other publications. Much like another high school star from Ohio (St. Vincent–St. Mary High School), LeBron James, Mayo drew large enough crowds to force his team into seeking larger venues to support the growing crowds, and often attracted National Basketball Association stars such as James and Carmelo Anthony to watch his games playing for the D-1 Greyhounds.

In February 2006, Mayo attracted the largest crowd to ever see a high school game in Cincinnati, Ohio when 16,202 fans watched North College Hill fall to the nation's number one rated team, Oak Hill Academy.[4] Mayo had been considered a lock to make the leap straight from high school to the NBA, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its players instituted a rule that a player must be at least a year out of high school before he can enter the NBA, effectively curtailing those plans. On July 5, 2006, it was reported by ESPN that he would attend USC.[5] On July 8, however, WSAZ-TV reported that USC was only one of three colleges that Mayo was considering: the other two being Kansas State University and the University of Florida.

Mayo enrolled at Huntington High School in Huntington, West Virginia for the 2006–07 school year. He formally committed to USC in November 2006.[6]

In January 2007, Mayo allegedly assaulted referee Mike Lazo after being ejected from a Huntington High game vs. Capital High School at the Charleston Civic Center.[7] According to West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission rules, Mayo was suspended for two games. However, due to allegations supported by video evidence that Lazo had overreacted and faked the incident, a temporary restraining order was signed by Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Dan O'Hanlan, temporarily lifting the suspensions on Mayo and five other players suspended due to incidents at that game.[8] However, shortly after, the restraining order was nullified and Mayo was suspended for three games, a punishment that Mayo described as "fair".[9]

On March 9, 2007, Mayo and three other men were cited by the Cabell County Sheriff's Dept. for misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana. Officers found the cannabis in a car in which Mayo was a passenger and, since no one claimed possession, all occupants were ticketed.[10] Charges against Mayo were dropped on March 12, 2007 after one of the other passengers in the vehicle took responsibility for the marijuana.[2]

Awards and honors

Mayo was selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association as the 2007 recipient of the Bill Evans Award for the state's boys basketball player of the year. Mayo led the state in scoring for the 2006–2007 season at 28.4 points per game. Runner-up in the voting was teammate Patrick Patterson.[2]

On March 17, 2007, Mayo led Huntington High School to its third consecutive Class AAA basketball championship in the state of West Virginia with 103–61 rout of South Charleston. Mayo finished with a triple-double: 41 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. In his final moments with a minute left in the game, Mayo threw the ball off the backboard from the free-throw line, caught it in midair, and dunked. He then threw the ball deep into the stands and held up three fingers, a reference to Huntington High's three-straight basketball state championships.[2]

He graduated in May 2007 and signed a letter of intent to enroll at USC. He scored a 29 on the ACT, placing him in the 95th percentile nationally.[2]

College career

Mayo had given Kansas State a soft verbal commitment to play for them,[2] but retracted it when head coach Bob Huggins announced he would take the same position at West Virginia. Frank Martin, by whom Mayo was recruited, was named head coach. Former teammate at North College Hill High School Bill Walker opted to stay and play for Martin.

Mayo enrolled at the University of Southern California in the summer of 2007, taking two classes. While waiting for the season to begin, he played pickup basketball against NBA players such as Kobe Bryant, Sam Cassell, Kevin Garnett, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., D. J. Augustin, Jason Kidd, Adam Morrison, and J. J. Redick.[2]

Mayo earned All-Pac-10 first team honors. In the 2008 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, the Trojans lost to UCLA, featuring Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, in the semi-finals. Both Mayo and Love were selected to the All Pac-10 tournament team. In his NCAA Tournament debut with the Trojans, Mayo scored 20 points as USC was beaten by Kansas State and freshman Michael Beasley and old high school teammate Bill Walker.

Mayo did not return for his sophomore season, opting to instead enter the 2008 NBA draft.

College statistics


Improper benefits and rules violation

On May 11, 2008, reported that a former "confidant", Louis Johnson, revealed on ESPN's TV show Outside the Lines that Mayo received numerous gifts in violation of NCAA rules. The report states that Mayo received the gifts from Rodney Guillory before and during his tenure at USC. Guillory is said to have received the money from the Bill Duffy Associates Sports Management (BDA).[2] On May 2, 2008, Mayo cut ties with BDA. He then hired Leon Rose to be his agent.

In April 2009, the NCAA combined its investigations of Mayo and former running back Reggie Bush into a single probe of the Trojans' athletic program.[2]

On January 3, 2010, USC announced that it had determined Mayo was ineligible for the 2007–2008 season because he received improper benefits, and had thus forfeited his amateur status before ever playing a game for USC. As a result, USC vacated all 21 of its wins from the 2007–08 season, dropping its record to 0–12. A vacated game does not count as a win for the other team, but is officially treated as having never happened. USC also withdrew from postseason consideration (including the Pac-10 conference tournament) for the 2009–10 season.[2][2]

Professional career

Memphis Grizzlies (2008–2012)

On June 26, 2008, O. J. Mayo was selected 3rd overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Later that day, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, along with Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner, swapping them for the 5th overall pick Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins.[3] Mayo was a part of the Select Team that helped get the U.S. national team ready for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[3] In his NBA Summer League debut, Mayo had 15 points to lead the Grizzlies to an 88–75 win over the New Orleans Hornets. During his rookie season, Mayo scored 30 or more points seven times. Mayo was the runner-up for the 2008–09 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, finishing second behind Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.

In his sophomore season, on November 1, 2009, O.J. Mayo scored a career high 40 points against the Denver Nuggets on 17 of 25 shooting.

Mayo was late for a game-day shootaround and was taken out of the starting lineup starting November 20, 2010.[23] On a return flight to Memphis from Los Angeles, Mayo was involved in a fight with teammate Tony Allen over a debt from an in-flight card game.[23] On January 27, the NBA suspended Mayo for 10 games following a positive test for the steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which violates the league's anti-drug program. Mayo blamed an over the counter supplement that he didn't know was banned by the NBA for the positive test, but he declined to say which supplement he used.[3] He later said an unnamed energy drink he bought at a gas station contained the banned substance.[23]

Despite playing in all 66 games of the shortened 2011–12 season, Mayo did not start in any games for the Grizzlies, playing as a sixth man. When he was asked if being a reserve hurt his value, he answered: "I would say so, I would probably say so. What do you think?"[3]

Dallas Mavericks (2012–2013)

The Grizzlies did not sign a qualifying offer sheet for Mayo, making him an unrestricted free agent. On July 19, Mayo officially signed with the Mavericks.[3]

On December 8, Mayo tied his career-high of 40 points in a game against the Houston Rockets. Two days later, he tied a career high of playing 52 minutes in a double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics. In his first game against his former team, Mayo scored only 10 points on 27% shooting. On December 28, 2012, Mayo had a career high of 5 steals against the Denver Nuggets. On March 6, Mayo recorded a new career high of 12 assists against the Houston Rockets.[3] After Nowitzki, the Mavericks' all-time leading scorer, returned, Mayo saw his scoring average dip. Mayo said, "I'm a scorer and can shoot the ball a little bit, but I like to be a playmaker. I like to try to take what the defense gives you and not just concentrate on scoring the ball. Find other guys."[3]

Mayo finished the season with averages of 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds while playing a team-high 35.5 minutes per game. His production dropped considerably after the All-Star break, when star player Nowitzki re-emerged after missing the first 27 games. On April 18, 2013, he announced he would decline the player option on his contract for the following season and become a free agent.[3]

Milwaukee Bucks (2013–2016)

On July 13, 2013, Mayo signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.[3][4] The signing was essentially a trade of starting shooting guards, as Monta Ellis departed Milwaukee to sign with Dallas.[4][4]

On October 30, 2013, in his Bucks debut, Mayo recorded 13 points and 5 rebounds in a loss to the New York Knicks.[4] Mayo later missed time during the 2013–14 season due to issues with his conditioning[4] as he appeared in a career-low 52 games.[4]

Mayo bounced back for the Bucks in 2014–15, recording seven 20-plus point games on the season.[4] In Game 4 of the Bucks' first round playoff match-up against the Chicago Bulls, Mayo scored 18 points and hit a clutch three-pointer with 1:42 left in the game to give the Bucks a six-point lead.[4]

On November 19, 2015, Mayo made his season debut for the Bucks after missing the first 11 games of the season due to a strained right hamstring he suffered in the final preseason game.[4] On December 5, he had a season-best game after coach Jason Kidd started him at point guard, largely due to the Bucks being down on point guards due to injury. In 35 minutes of action, he recorded 17 points and 5 assists in a 106–91 win over the New York Knicks.[4] On February 9, 2016, he returned to action against the Boston Celtics after missing 11 games with a left hamstring injury.[5] On March 10, he was ruled out for the rest of the season after he suffered a fractured right ankle.[5]

League ban

On July 1, 2016, Mayo was dismissed from the NBA for a drug violation. He is eligible for reinstatement in two years.[5][5]

NBA career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field goal percentage 3P% 3-point field goal percentage FT% Free throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high

Regular season





His parents are Alisa Mayo and Kenneth Maurice Ziegler. Mayo did not live with his father while growing up. Ziegler was charged on December 23, 2010 with attempted murder after he hit a police officer with his car in Huntington, West Virginia.[23]

Mayo's half-brother, Todd, played basketball for the Marquette Golden Eagles.[5] He was selected by the Westchester Knicks in the 2014 NBA Development League Draft and played for them until being waived on January 28, 2015.[5]