Mayo a Possible Top 10 Pick

TrojanNYC has the story via Chad Ford at ESPN. I love AO's writing.

O.J. Mayo, SG, Freshman, USC

Mayo was ranked No. 1 on our Big Board in July. Some of that had to do with hype, but most of it had to do with Mayo's game. He already had the body and athleticism of an NBA player. He was an excellent scorer and scouts said they thought he would be a full-time point guard in the pros.

Mayo has proved he has the ability to score at USC. But the point guard thing hasn't materialized. He's looked fairly one-dimensional this season -- his assist and rebound totals are underwhelming. Some of that isn't Mayo's fault as he's asked to play off the ball and carry the team on offense. But scouts looking for something more than a shoot-first 2-guard have been disappointed. Some are calling Mayo the next Jerry Stackhouse -- a guy who never met a shot he didn't like or a defensive set he did like.

Scouts are being too critical in my mind. The backlash against Mayo has been too severe given his numbers. As a freshman, he's averaging more than 20 points per game in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball and shooting a respectable percentage from the field. His assist-to-turnover ratio isn't pretty ... but he's been asked to do a lot.

The fact that he played Rose to a draw and outplayed Arizona's Bayless stands out. But the truth is that if scouts are skeptical, then he's got to prove himself during workouts.

Right now he's ranked No. 9 on our draft board. But I think teams like the Knicks and Clippers will take a long look at him earlier in the draft.

AO goes on to challenge Mayo being picked at #9 he is thinking that he is a likely top six pick.

Mayo has stepped his game up since his less than stellar performance against ucla at The Galen Center.

Since his four-point, 10-turnover clunker against UCLA on Feb. 17, the USC freshman has averaged 27.5 points on 50% shooting over the last four games while leading the Trojans to a dramatic comeback victory over Oregon and a rare road triumph over Arizona.

"Just making some shots, that's all," Mayo said Tuesday when asked to explain his recent proficiency. "It's nothing special. We're running the same system, the same sets, taking the same shots, just making some."

Mayo is making more than "some" from beyond the three-point arc, connecting on an eye-popping 67.9% of his long-range attempts over his last four games. He is shooting 40.9% on three-pointers for the season.

Coach Tim Floyd said Mayo's surge may be partly a response to his difficulties against the Bruins and his willingness to take extra shots after practice.

It's too bad that Mayo is heading out after his freshman season. I think he needs another season to clean his game up but that's not happening. It has been fun to watch him play though there have been some games where it was frustrating to watch him struggle.

Oh well...one can hope.

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