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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Men’s Basketball: Mayo seeks own identity

Freshman guard Todd Mayo came to Marquette, in part, because of its emphasis on academics. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

When someone hears the last name “Mayo” in a basketball setting, odds are the first name attached to it is “O.J.,” the shooting guard on the Memphis Grizzlies.

But his half-brother, Marquette freshman guard Todd Mayo, hopes to add his name to the list.

Taking on the challenge of following in O.J.’s large footsteps had never been easy for Todd, and there were times he didn’t even want his half-brother to show up to his games. But O.J.’s words of encouragement, advice and outstanding work ethic made it easier for him to become his own player.

“I’m not trying to be better than him, and he’s pretty good, but he’s not trying to be better than me,” Todd said. “We just want to be on the same path and get to our dreams and take care of our family.”

Mayo bounced around high schools before landing at Notre Dame Preparatory (Mass.) his senior season. There he averaged 22 points and six assists per game and helped his team to a 33-4 record and a National Prep Championship.

Assistant coach Aki Collins, who was an assistant coach at Marshall from 2003 to 2006, has known Mayo — a Huntington, W.Va., native — since the guard was in seventh grade.

Kansas, Connecticut, Providence and Baylor were among the other schools on the recruiting trail interested in Mayo, and home state West Virginia also made a late push for his services.

But it was Collins’ long-lasting relationship with Mayo that was instrumental in helping bring him to Marquette. That and Marquette’s strong push toward the finish line in the recruiting process sold Mayo on his decision.

“Marquette sent all four assistants to come watch me, and I thought that was something to look into with a college,” Mayo said. “And I said if that ever happened, that would be the school for me.”

The Golden Eagles’ commitment to academics also played a major role in his decision. Mayo took his official visit to Marquette the weekend of Feb. 25, and watched Marquette take down Providence 86-62.

What was special to Mayo, however, was that just hours after the game, the players headed back to the Al McGuire Center for a study hall session.

“I liked that Marquette put school first,” he said.

Recent trends have shown that freshmen are hard-pressed to find minutes in coach Buzz Williams’ rotation. But sophomore redshirt forward Jamil Wilson has given advice to Mayo, telling him to continue taking in every minute of action to become a better player, regardless of game minutes.

“You don’t know whether you’re going to get 30 minutes or four minutes, but take what you can get and try to build off it,” Wilson told Mayo. “Don’t try to be too greedy at once. Everyone knows you’re good or you wouldn’t be playing here.”

Collins said Mayo’s contributions this season may be limited because of Marquette’s talented and deep back court. However, Collins said the guard depth will help him as he goes through typical freshman adjustments.

“He’s not going to have to carry a heavy load,” Collins said. “He’s going to have to be a part of what we do, but he won’t have to be a focal point of anything we’re doing. He just has to keep getting better every day.”

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