Just a few years ago, LeBron-mania swept the nation. All of the basketball eyes were tuned in on Ohio to see LeBron James dazzle and wow the competition.
James, the teenage prodigy who bolted straight to the NBA on the curtails of a multi-million dollar shoe contract and a six-year contract from the Cleveland Cavaliers, has followers in Ohio feeling a case of déjà vu all over again with Cincinnati North College Hill sensation, O.J. Mayo.
The 6-foot-3, 185 pound shooting guard who averaged 28 points a game last season for North College Hill has been expected to follow in the footsteps of James by way of career path.
But, in the famous words of ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend."
Mayo, who is ranked as the top player in the country in the class of 2007 by the Insiders Hoops, has been written off by many for ever playing a single game of college ball.
The money, which could prove to indeed be too rich to pass up for Mayo by the time he's a senior in high school, most certainly could be the ultimate factor in his decision.
But for now, Mayo is thinking nothing of it.
"It's very early, but all of my concentration is on going to school and playing basketball," he said.
Mayo has added incentive for attending college. Namely, his friend and teammate at North College Hill, Bill Walker, who often gets lost in the shuffle despite the fact many people believe Walker can be and will be every bit as good as Mayo.
In fact, all of the talks between Mayo and Walker are about college, and not professional basketball.
"We talk about that all the time (going to college together)," Mayo said. "We think it would be great to go on to college together and get to play some more as teammates."
Mayo didn't want to provide a formal list of schools he's considering because he's been on the road so much this summer. Since NCAA rules prohibit schools from calling him yet, all of the interest he would receive comes through the mail. Because of being gone so much, he has to wait until school starts to get caught up on the mail.
"Most of the mail goes to my coach and to the school," he said. "Once I get back, I'll have to get caught up on all of my letters from schools."
In the past, Mayo has indicated strong interest in Cincinnati, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, and Kentucky. Another team he was fond of, Xavier, just recently lost their coach, Thad Matta, to Ohio State.
So does that make Ohio State a serious candidate to attend?
"It most definitely does," Mayo said. "Ohio State will definitely be a team I'm very interested in. Coach Matta is a great coach and Columbus is a cool city. What's not to like about Ohio State?"
If anyone wishes to put money on where Mayo lands, and of course, we strongly suggest that you don't, our advice still would not be to lay it on the college game.
But it sure wouldn't be a bad payoff as a long-shot, either.
A lot can happen in the next few years, but as of now, Ohio State is at least in an envious position relative to any other team wishing to land Mayo. Then again, Mayo-mania could be just beginning.
Editor's Note: More on O.J. Mayo's thoughts about new head basketball
coach Thad Matta, can be found in the upcoming edition of "A Schott in the
Arm", found on the club subscriber's basketball forum for Bucknuts premium