Roundball Classic: O.J. Mayo Interview

Roundball Classic:  O.J. Mayo Interview
Apr 04, 2007, 03:04 pm
Following his MVP performance, DraftExpress was able to sit down and get a one on one interview with the nation’s top player, O.J. Mayo. Mayo, whom finished with 27 points and 6 assists, scored 10 consecutive points in one stretch late in the fourth quarter. His team lost the game, but in the fourth quarter, he showed everyone in attendance why he is hands down the best player in the country.

DraftExpress will be posting detailed player breakdowns on all of the top performers in the Roundball Classic later this evening.

O.J. Mayo Interview

DraftExpress: Tell me what was different between the Roundball and the McDonald’s game.

Mayo: The McDonald’s…I don’t know about it. It was kind of different, as far as trying to get a rhythm. There, you were only able to play four minutes at a time, as opposed to here where you got to go six. I think I got into a better rhythm. Guys played harder tonight. Even though it was a lopsided score, I think we played harder tonight, as far as getting after it in the second half.

DraftExpress: Now you started off the game a bit passive tonight, but then scored 10 straight points and 13 points in a three minute span of the fourth quarter. What changed in your mentality from the start of the game to the fourth quarter?

Mayo: (laughs) I didn’t want to get blown out. I didn’t want to get blown out. They had a lead on us, and I was just trying to help the team out by cutting down on the lead.

DraftExpress: You were quite visibly upset after the McDonald’s game. Can you tell me a little bit about what was going through your head at that time?

Mayo: I had an opportunity to win the damn game and I missed the shot. Everybody dreams of that opportunity, and I work on that shot day in and day out. It’s the easiest shot of the game, the top of the key. I missed it. I didn’t play well. Some of the shots that I took, I feel like I can make and they just didn’t fall down. I had the opportunity to sum it all up at the end of the game and I came short. I was just pissed.

DraftExpress: You looked like an NBA All-Star amongst high school kids in the McDonald’s practices, then came out and struggled once the game started. What happened?

Mayo: I don’t think anybody who plays basketball plays a great game every time they step on the damn court. Obviously it was just the wrong stage to have a bad game. You know what I mean? At the same time, I think it’s going to make me stronger at the end of the day because it’s just going to make me work harder so it doesn’t happen again.

DraftExpress: Now I’m sure you noticed this, just as everyone else did. While everyone was playing somewhat relaxed defense against the other players in the game, it seemed as if whomever was guarding you stepped it up and was trying to lock down, as if it were the state championship. Did you notice that?

Mayo: (laughs) They’re competitors, you know what I’m saying? There’s a lot of guys who feel like I’m the top guards and they’re top guards, and maybe they wanted to prove that they were better and that they could play with me. At the same time, I wanted to prove the same thing. When you have two players like that, it’s nice. That’s how it goes sometimes.

DraftExpress: As of even three days ago when I spoke with you, you were undecided as to if you were going to the Jordan or Roundball game. What made you decide to play in the Roundball game?

Mayo: Well, my mother was able to get off work and I’m just trying to work around her schedule. I’m going three thousand miles away for school, so at least I wanted to make sure that she could see my all-star games. She didn’t get in until last night. She left right from work, got on the plane, and came in last night for an opportunity to watch the game. I just wanted to make sure that my family got the opportunity to check me out in the all-star game.

DraftExpress: Give me a self evaluation of your performance tonight.

Mayo: I did alright. It wasn’t enough to win. I did alright. I don’t really want to pinpoint my individual stats or anything, since we lost the game.

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