Matta Gets Verbal From JUCO Guard Mayes

Redlands Community College guard Sylvester Mayes has issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State. Mayes will have two years remaining when he joins the fold in 2005-06. Click here for more on this fine prospect.

A week after announcing that he had accepted 6-4 guard Ronald Lewis as a transfer from Bowling Green, Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta accepted a verbal commitment from Redlands Community College point guard Sylvester Mayes.

The 6-2 Mayes made an official visit to OSU this past weekend after visiting UNLV previously. Mayes canceled a visit to Indiana upon verbaling to the Buckeyes. He will play one more year at Redlands, located in El Reno, Okla., before joining the Buckeyes in 2005-06. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

"Coach Matta is a real great guy," said Mayes, who was also looking at Purdue, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas and Houston. "Ohio State has been recruiting me for a long time. They have always been one of my top options. I think it's a real good situation for me because I should be able to step in and play right away."

Mayes could be OSU's point guard of the future – at least for 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was ranked as the nation's 19th-best prospect by Hoop Scoop coming out of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne last year. But academic deficiencies sent him the JUCO route.

"Ohio State fits my style real good," Mayes said. "They like to open up the floor and run a lot of ball screens. That should help my style a lot. Coach Matta also likes ballhandlers to create shots. That's one of the things I do well as well."

Over the weekend, Mayes attended OSU's football game with Marshall at Ohio Stadium. He also got to play in a pickup game with OSU's returning players as well as Utah prep star Brayden Bell, who was also visiting.

"That went real well. I got along with the guys real good," Mayes said. "I felt I played real well and I thought we played real well together. I think I fit in with that team real well."

When asked what swung it for Ohio State, Mayes said, "It was definitely the people. There were good people there in Columbus and good people there in Ohio. I definitely felt at home there."

Recruiters first learned of Mayes as an underclassman at South Bend (Ind.) Clay. He transferred to Wayne as a senior, when he averaged 26.9 points per game.

Last year, he averaged 14.4 points per game at Redlands.

"My strengths, basically, are shooting and ballhandling," Mayes said. "I'm pretty good from long range. I'm also a pretty good passer and can see the floor pretty well. I'm quick and I love to push the floor. Probably my biggest weakness that I'm working on right now is just to play with more intensity on every play. If I do that, I think I'm going to be in really good shape at the college level."

Redlands coach Steve Eck added, "He's a scorer and a tough kid who has really improved his defensive intensity. He's got a really good mid-range game, which you don't find a lot."

Matta and his staff now have two scholarships left for current high school seniors. They seem to be targeting one big man and one guard with those last two spots. OSU then could have as many as five scholarships to offer current high school juniors next year, when the state of Ohio is brimming with top talent.


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