AWARD O.J. Mayo repeat winner of Mr. Basketball title
The Cincinnati North College Hill High standout is back in the state tourney.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- Imagine fans show up for your games and are disappointed if: a) your team doesn't win by 50 points, b) you don't score 40, and c) you don't meet their minimum requirement of dunks and 3-pointers.
Welcome to the world of O.J. Mayo, The Associated Press Mr. Basketball in Ohio for the second straight year.
"I can't worry about that," he said when asked about the unreal expectations of spectators. "If I did, I don't know where my head would be."
Mayo, a 6-foot-5 junior at North College Hill High School in Cincinnati, measures up to most expectations. He's a typical kid off the court, he's a brilliant and creative artist on it, and he and his running mate and friend Bill Walker, drive one of the nation's best prep teams.
Mayo averages 28.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 5 steals for the three-time defending AP poll champion Trojans (24-1), who will be seeking their second consecutive Division III state championship this week at Ohio State's Value City Arena. With just three losses in three seasons -- the one this year came last month against national powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) Academy before more than 16,000 fans at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati -- North College Hill is considered one of the top five teams in the land.
Walker is Robin to his Batman, a dominating big man who is as physically intimidating as Mayo is smooth and unassuming. Mayo frequently refers to "we" and "us" when answering questions, as if he and Walker -- also a first-team All-Ohio selection by the AP -- cannot be separated.
"We've played all right this season," Mayo said. "We've gotten more help from our team this year, so we didn't have to do as much."
Mother has last year's plaque
Last year's Mr. Basketball plaque stays at Mayo's mother's home in Huntington, W.Va., while her son attends school in Cincinnati. He is watched over by relatives, friends, NCH coach Jamie Mahaffey and his teammates.
"O.J. has matured a lot," Mahaffey said. "On the court, he's a more consistent and he's shooting the ball a lot better. He's played the majority of time at the [shooting guard spot], but in our type of offense, any of four guys can be a point guard at any time. He's handled that responsibility and has taken more of a leadership role on the team."
Other candidates for the 20th Mr. Basketball award were Canton McKinley's Raymar Morgan, Bellaire's Nate Davis, Jon Diebler of Upper Sandusky, Dante Jackson of Greenfield McClain, Solon's Dallas Lauderdale and Javonte Clanton of Reynoldsburg.