When you've been good – and at the level he's excelled – for as long as Mayo has, you tend to have NBA options after high school. Well, not anymore. Tuesday's collective bargaining agreement pretty much ended the idea of jumping straight from high school to the pros, a move that could cost Mayo millions in 2007.
Surprisingly, he wasn't fazed by the news. "It makes my decision harder now," Mayo said. "They'll be a lot more competition in college ball. Now the rule makes college basketball a lot more interesting."
Speaking of interesting, Mayo's recruitment is a lot more important on Wednesday than it was on Monday before the rule came to pass.
Mayo said that no less than 12 schools text messaged him the first day programs could contact members of the Class of 2007 this month and he's afraid his phone will blow up even more this week.
So, can colleges still continue to recruit this guy like he's coming to campus? Some assistants are perplexed. "Do we really put effort into O.J.? I don't know?" one prominent assistant said.
Recruiting a guy like Mayo might not be totally cut and dry even given the new rule. For example, what's to stop him from taking a fat contract and playing overseas for a year? How about a prep school or dare we say the NDBL which recently lowered its minimum age requirement to 18. BTW, what kind of message is the NBA sending when it raises the league minimum to 19 and then lowers the NDBL requirement?
Mayo's position, for now, is college. "That's what I wanted to do from the start," he says. "I do feel sorry for the guys like Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and Thaddeus Young [who could have been lottery picks]. It definitely makes college more interesting now."
So, who's chasing Mayo? Try Ohio State, Illinois, Texas, UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati and Indiana for starters. And, for the record, Mayo always lists Florida A&M. Always. Forget arenas in Spain for a year; imagine how many seats he'd sell in the MEAC even if it is only for one season.