Catching Up with Skylar Mays

TSD publisher Ben Love goes one-on-one with Skylar Mays, one of Louisiana's top prep basketball players. The 2016 point guard and one-time LSU commit discusses his game, recruiting and which schools are coming hardest.

Still in the midst of his junior season, University High (Baton Rouge) point guard Skylar Mays is already a household name in prep basketball circles.

The 2016 prospect led the Cubs to a 3A state title in Louisiana a season ago, and, with district play set to begin, Mays and U-High are 20-3 on the current campaign (20-1 versus in-state opponents) following a narrow loss Saturday to area school Madison Prep and 2015 four-star Brandon Sampson.

Mays is also a figure of interest on the recruiting side, where he first committed to LSU on Feb. 8, 2014 – on Twitter during an LSU-Auburn basketball game – before decommitting on June 22.

Other schools with an offer out to Mays include Mississippi State, UNLV, Tulsa, Tulane and Southeastern (La.). He’s also receiving interest from SMU, Wake Forest, Memphis, Boston College, Vanderbilt, Davidson and Arkansas, among others.

Check out the links below for TSD’s previous interview with Mays, and, below them, be sure to read our latest with the player, in which he opens up on his game, his recruitment, where the Tigers stand, when he’ll make a decision and much more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ben Love: From your viewpoint how have you guys played this season and how have you grown as a team from last year?

Skylar Mays: We’ve played well. It’s always going to be tough with so much talent on our team. Everyone wants to get shots, but I think we’ve done a great job in getting everyone their shots and getting everyone involved. I think we’re all more or less happy with the way we’re playing right now, at least we should be in my opinion.

BL: As far as your individual game, does it feel like you’re playing a similar role to last year? Or has it kinda had to evolve or adapt to this year’s team?

SM: I feel like I’ve always been able to score the ball well, whether I need to in a game or not. My main focus is getting my teammates involved and being a pass-first point guard. I think my game matured a little bit as far as getting to the rack, finishing above the rim and I think my three point shot has gotten a little more consistent. But for me it’s mainly about getting others involved, my teammates.

BL: We never really talk a lot about your defense. Where do you think you’re best there – on-the-ball defending, denying off the ball in passing lanes, in full-court pressure?

SM: I feel like I’m best when I’m reading eyes and ears. So really what I’m good at is timing, knowing where the guy’s going to pass. I’m kinda like a defensive back, per se. That’s where I play best. But I feel like where I can improve the most is in help-side defense. On-the-ball defense is getting a lot better. As my body’s maturing I feel like I’ve been a lot better on the ball.

BL: Have you completely put aside recruiting as part of your thought process during the season or do you continue to look at who’s showing you interest and think about it?

SM: Well, I’m still talking to coaches, but I haven’t really thought about college one time this year. I don’t plan to think about where I want to go to college again until senior year.

BL: You have an opportunity to win another state championship coming up followed by an important summer. How can you use those opportunities to raise your stock?

SM: What I’ve got going for me is my size, and I feel like wherever I step on the court I’m at least the smartest player on the court. I can stand out through my court vision, too. But I definitely want to be known as a winner. I feel like winning a state championship raised my stock, but I want to keep improving. If I can be a knock-down three-point shooter, that’ll help me a whole lot at the college level. And hopefully if I can make it to the pros, that would be huge.

BL: During the most recent open recruiting period, which schools came at you the hardest?

SM: SMU came, LSU of course, Memphis. SMU actually came down to watch us practice. Then Wake Forest has been in contact a lot lately. UNLV, too. Boston College came down recently as well.

BL: What about individual coaches and relationships you’ve started to form? Any of those standing out to you?

SM: I have a good relationship with (assistant) coach (Steve) Woodberry at Wake Forest. Obviously with coach (Johnny) Jones at LSU and (assistant) coach (David) Patrick at LSU. Those are great guys. Then (assistant) coach (Todd) Simon at UNLV. Also coach (Dave) Rice at UNLV. He hits me up every now and then, but they’ve got a really young team. They’ve got something like seven freshmen, so he’s really trying to make sure those guys are on top of their game because they’re a really young team.

BL: Obviously since you play with his son, coach Jones has an interest in your games. How often do you two talk?

SM: I see him a ton. It’s not really as much on the phone, but it’s a lot of face to face. But he’ll hit me up every now and then.

BL: Have you seen benefits from your decision to decommit and has it come to fruition like you hoped it would?

SM: Definitely. When I look back on it, I don’t understand why I was thinking about college in my sophomore year because I still had two more years left in high school. I feel like making the best decision for me is not always about proximity to where you live, but LSU’s still a great school and definitely going to be one of the schools I consider when I make my decision.

BL: You and Antonio Blakeney really don’t play the same position, but you are both perimeter players. Does his coming on board to LSU move the needle for you one way or the other, good or bad?

SM: Definitely not. Blakeney is a great player, and Ben Simmons is phenomenal. When coach Jones can recruit guys like that, it lets you know that those guys see something that I probably will see when I get more serious into the recruiting.

BL: So you mentioned you’re going to wait until your senior year to commit. Have you decided if you want to sign early in November or wait until the regular period in April?

SM: We’ll have to see. I’m thinking about taking a visit in the summer. I’ll definitely be taking an official to LSU at some point when the time comes, probably during football season. I guess it really depends on when I take my visits. (When asked if he’s identified any other schools for an official visit) Not really. Not yet.

BL: Have you already taken the ACT and gotten the score you need to qualify?

SM: I actually took the ACT when I was in seventh grade and I got a 21. I’m pretty sure that’s high enough, but I’m going for 30-plus when our school makes us take it in March.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories