Mayo Highlights Trojans' No. 2 Rated Incoming Men's Basketball Class
Nov. 15, 2006
Top recruit O.J. Mayo ended much speculation today when he sent his signed National Letter of Intent to USC, where he will be a member of head coach Tim Floyd's Trojans. Also signing NLIs with USC were prep standouts Davon Jefferson from Lynwood, Calif., Leonard Washington from Lake Charles, La. and Marcus Simmons from Alexandria, La. These four signings earned USC the No. 2 rated recruiting class nationally by HoopScoop.
'We feel as a result of this recruiting class that it has changed the perception and expectations of our program,' said Floyd. 'In O.J. Mayo we signed the No. 1 player in the country. We think the impact of he alone raises the level of the program. Then, in Leonard Washington, we have added someone we think can be an all-league player and Davon Jefferson was in the top 10 in his senior class. Marcus Simmons we think has a chance to be as good a defender as anyone in the Pac-10.'
Mayo, a 6-5, 215-pound guard from Huntington, W.V., is the top rated recruit in the country by Scout.com and is a unanimous five-star player in all rating services. He is a two-time Mr. Basketball in Ohio, a two-time first-team Parade All-American and a two-time USA Today All-USA basketball first-team selection.
Last season as a junior at North College Hill HS in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mayo averaged 28.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals, leading his team to it second consecutive Division III state title.
'O.J. has a tremendous skill package, he can play the point or the off guard,' said Floyd. 'He has a poise to his game that is uncommon for a player his age. I would encourage people to buy their tickets because he is worth it.'
'I think this kid is different,' added Floyd. 'I just respect him for thinking differently than other great players. This is a guy who had a vision for what he wanted to do and never waivered from Day 1. He is driven to be the best player at his position.'
Widely regarded as the top player in his class since the seventh grade, Mayo began getting attention when he became a 13-year-old starter on the varsity team at Rose Hill Christian School in Ashland, Ky. By the eighth grade he became the youngest player ever selected to the Louisville Courier-Journal's all-state team. He then went on to North College Hill HS where he helped turn around their program and lead them to consecutive state titles, before transferring to Huntington HS in West Virginia for his senior season. In his three seasons at North College Hill, Mayo averaged 29.2 points and became the school's all-time leader in points (2,033), points in a season (748) and assists (505). In fact, his point totals in each of his three seasons there are the top three scoring marks in NCH school history. He also holds the school record for points in a game, as he poured in 56 on Dec. 17, 2004 vs. Lockland (OH).
Jefferson, a 6-8, 195-pound forward, was widely regarded as a top 10 recruit his senior season and as a top five recruit among fifth-year prep school basketball players last season. Rivals.com lists Jefferson as a five-star recruit, the 15th rated prospect of the entire 2006 class and as the No. 2 player out of California. He attended Lynwood (CA) HS and averaged 26.0 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists during the 2005 season, before going to The Patterson School in Patterson, N.C. last season, where he averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds in a half of a season.'We love his versatility,' said Floyd. 'He played mostly inside in high school, but can shoot from the perimeter, is a tremendous passer and scorer, and has the ability to go inside and post-up. He has worked hard the last two years to repair his academic deficiencies and has got himself in good shape. We feel he is a player that can play at the next level.'
Washington, a 6-7, 225-pound forward from Washington Marion HS in Louisiana, is a physical player who is ranked by HoopScoop as the No. 54 recruit in the 2007 class. He averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds last season for Washington Marion.'Leonard plays much bigger than his size,' said Floyd. 'He gives us something that we don't have in that he is a terrific low post scorer and can beat players off the dribble. He is a tremendous competitor and rebounder and because of his intensity has a chance to play a significant role for us as a freshman.'
Simmons, a 6-5, 180-pound swingman from Peabody HS in Louisiana, is considered one of the best on the ball defenders in high school and is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 4 recruit in the state of Louisiana and the No. 138th ranked recruit nationally. He led his Peabody HS team to a 34-5 record as a junior and a No. 2 ranking in the state, as he averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game.'We thought he played harder than anyone we saw play this summer,' said Floyd
'We think Marcus has a chance go be a great defender and bring some intensity to our team which we couldn't turn down.'