Feature: Mayo Announces NBA Hopes

April 18, 2008

By Joe Turner
Daily Trojan

April 18, 2008

Los Angeles, CA (UWIRE) -- With the buzz of his expected decision subsiding, O.J. Mayo

officially held his press conference Thursday at the Galen Center announcing that he would forgo his remaining eligibility at USC and enter the 2008 NBA Draft.

In front of about 20 reporters and members of the media, Mayo spoke publicly for the first time since a press release was sent out April 9 announcing that the freshman would be one-and-done in college basketball.

'I'd like to thank everyone for coming out today to my formal announcement,' Mayo said. 'Last year at this time, the excitement was building for me to start my college basketball career with the school of my choice. This year, the excitement builds once again as I've been faced with the second major decision of my life.'

Mayo also announced that he has signed with agent Calvin Andrews, vice president of BDA Sports Management in Northern California. Andrews also represents NBA players such as Drew Gooden, Yao Ming and Carmelo Anthony.

After a record-setting freshman season that saw him average 20.7 points per game, setting the USC record for points by a freshman, Mayo is projected as a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft.

'I just want to go and conduct myself as a professional, really go out and work hard,' Mayo said. 'Just put forth a lot of effort and basically start over and make myself the best player I can be.'

Athletes who leave school early are required to complete at least six units in their final semester so as to not hurt their schools' Academic Proficiency Rating, which could result in the loss of scholarships for the program. Mayo said he intends on completing his classes this semester as he works out in preparation for the draft.

'I'm going to finish out school, so until then I'll be working out here in our weight room and our gym,' Mayo said.

'I think it's definitely in my best interest to stay in school,' he said. 'Obviously I can't play basketball my entire life even though I want to. I definitely would like to get a degree of some sort.'

An age-limit restriction prevented Mayo from making the jump to the NBA straight out of high school, forcing him to attend college for at least one season. After surprising everybody when he chose to play for the Trojans, Mayo has no second guesses about his decision.

'It's a great university academicswise and athleticswise,' Mayo said. 'At that time it was the best decision for me, and I definitely have no regrets.

'I pretty much think to this [point], it's probably been the best thing to happen to me.'

As for the draft in June, Mayo is hopeful that he is picked high but knows that the choice is out of his hands.

'Hopefully, I can just be picked,' Mayo said with a laugh. 'I think that's a blessing, all my life I've worked to be an NBA player. That was my ultimate dream so I'm happy I could get the opportunity.

'It's a one time opportunity and I just feel like, this year, why pass it up when you've been waiting all your life to have this opportunity?'

(C) 2008 Daily Trojan via UWIRE

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