What in the World Happened to O.J. Mayo?

*RANDOM ATHLETE OF THE DAY*

Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo could quite possibly be one of the greatest potential stories to ever enter the hype portal. The amount of talent he possessed coupled with flair, bravado and glide-ability caused him to become quite the spectacle. Reason being, he started playing Varsity basketball in the 7th grade.

Mayo bounced around from Huntington, WV to Rose Hill Christian (KY) and played for North College Hill (Cincinnati) as well. A man who took advanced notice of his uncanny abilities goes by the name of Dwaine Barnes and helped mold O.J. into the player he became. 

Keeping tabs on his athletic ability since Mayo was 9 years old, Dwaine recognized the undeniable talent early. O.J. played 17U AAU ball (D-1 Greyhounds) in the 8th grade and Dwaine was his coach every step of the way. 

Mayo’s father, Kenny Zeigler also had a decorated basketball career in the Cincinnati area. Considering the fact that Zeigler spent much of his life in the penitentiary O.J. considered Barnes to be his father figure. In 2003, Dwaine became O.J.’s legal guardian and eventually helped him achieve a high mark of 29 on his ACTs. 

Since Junior High schoolers are not allowed to compete on the Varsity level in the state of Ohio, Mayo moved to Ashland, KY to attend Rose Hill Christian where he started on Varsity in just the seventh grade.

“I’d have a hard time playing him in the second half because he’d have 30 points at halftime, and the other teams would complain about him being in the game.”

Robert VanHoose, Mayo’s JV coach & former Rose Hill varsity assistant

On Rose Hill Christian Varsity he averaged 21.8 ppg as a 7th grader and 20.5 ppg as an 8th grader. He became the youngest player in Kentucky state history to be selected to the Louisville Courier-Journal all state team. 

N.College Hill went on to defeat Archbold in Value City Arena as Mayo was absent. Principals, coaches and associates were tight-lipped about the reason Mayo could not attend although it was clearly a punishment. 

In his senior season, Mayo played alongside Patrick Patterson for Huntington (West Virginia) and finished strong with a state title.

Bill Walker, Mayo and Gerald Green all developed within the same AAU circuit era as G.Green displayed incredible vertical leap. It is said that at Sonny Vaccaro’s Reebok ABCD camp, Green outjumped the 11”5 vertical marker.

Gerald Green was a freak-of-nature – you cannot teach that kind of bounce

Suspensions during high school only foreshadowed Mayo’s failure to comply with rules. His failed drug tests (PEDs), assault on a referee and subsequent subpar performances led him to receive the longest suspension ever dished out by the NBA. During his hiatus, he visited Kenya where he bought animals for a village and spent time in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. 

Unfortunately, O.J. Mayo represents another tale of wasted talent through lack of effort and piss-poor attitude. He placed a ceiling on his own potential and piqued rather early on. Some might blame the Grizzlies team (joined at 20 y/o) scheme for his lack of productivity but in reality, Mayo did not want it enough. 

He currently plays for the Liaoning Flying Leopards in the Chinese Basketball Association. 

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