L.A. is a crazy enough place when it comes to celebrities. There are times when you you can see numerous stars or athletes at any one setting. USC has also been a part of that the past few years when a group of players head out to dinner and bump into some players from across town its news. In any other town that's no big deal in L.A. it news. USC's basket ball program has enjoyed the spotlight of late because of good run into the tournament last season and because they have one of the top recruits of 2007 on their team this season.
O.J. Mayo has had an interesting year in 2007. There were some issues that came up that made me wonder if this kid was going to be a real headache when he got here, but some of the issues that came up were blown out of proportion. So far Mayo has gone out of his way to make the right choices and be a leader and some have had second thoughts on their initial opinions.
From yestrday's L.A. Times:
That much became clear several days ago when the USC freshman guard interrupted an interview to tell a homeless man sifting through a garbage bin outside the Galen Center that his shopping cart was rolling toward Figueroa Street. Mayo addressed the man, like he does all male adults, as "Sir."
Mayo's mode of transportation in the land of Bentleys and BMWs is a black beach cruiser, which he can still pedal somewhat anonymously through campus. Outside the Galen Center last week, two Trojans volleyball players spotted arguably the most heralded basketball recruit in school history and didn't know who he was.
"L.A.'s a big city, and there's a lot going on," Mayo said when asked whether he was recognized everywhere he went. "A lot of people don't really take the time to look at other people unless you're a star with the paparazzi and all of that.
So far I am pleased. USC Head Coach Tim Floyd is keeping control of the situation by not allowing Mayo's play to stand out above anyone else. That is key in making this all work, keeping it normal and on an even keel.
From today's L.A.Times:
The assessment of the USC guard depended on whom you asked following Mayo's first practice alongside his Trojans teammates Monday afternoon at the Galen Center.
Said freshman forward Marcus Simmons: "He looked good. He looked like he had been doing it all his life."
Said sophomore guard Dwight Lewis: "He showed flashes where if he had to take over, he could take over."
Then there was the opinion of Mayo's coach, Tim Floyd.
"He's like every other freshman," Floyd said after the practice, which was closed to the media. "He's got to learn what we're doing right now, and as he gets more confident in the system of play and in what we're doing, he'll grow like all the freshmen will."
It looks like coach Floyd is doing a good job of keeping it normal and that is good for the team in the end.