Late last month, Marquette guard Todd Mayo announced that he would be leaving the Golden Eagles’ basketball team to pursue a professional basketball career. A few days ago, it was announced that Mayo would enter the NBA Developmental League’s draft this fall.
Mayo was expected to be a big contributor to Steve Wojciechowski’s first Marquette team after averaging 11.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting off the bench last season. Mayo finished last season with three straight games of twenty or more points, including 26 points and 11 rebounds in a one-point loss to Providence.
With the new college season fast approaching, Mayo knew he had to make a decision on his future soon. “It had been on my mind after the new staff came in,” said Mayo. “It hurt to lose a father figure like Coach Williams.”
Though Mayo had his up and downs playing under Williams, it was the coach’s guidance which helped him to continue to develop as a player and a person. “It was all about hard work with Coach,” explained Mayo. “You had to learn to be an ‘everyday’ guy to play for him. He put so much into making me a better player and teaching me discipline.”
Now, as Mayo starts his preparation for the next level of his career, he knows that his game can be what teams are looking for. “Being a pro is all about ‘what do you do great?’” Mayo said. “I may not be the most athletic, or have the greatest handle, but I am an ‘everyday’ who is willing to do all I can to get better. I am always willing to learn more to improve.”
As for where he wants to improve, Mayo is very open about his need to learn a lot more. “I really want to keep working on every area of my game, and focusing on being prepared when teams get to see me,” said Mayo. “I’m working on mastering my game, and it won’t always be easy. I didn’t start playing basketball until the tenth grade, so I know that there is still room for me to improve as a player.”
With the decision to leave school for a professional career, Mayo and his agent, Daniel Hazan of Hazan Sports Management, had to then decide if Mayo would go the International route or stay close to home in the D-League. “I felt being in the D-League, and in front of the eyes of NBA teams, was best because they could see me as I continue to get better,” explained Mayo. “While I could improve overseas, it could be tough for teams to see how my game is improving.”
Mayo had some former teammates to talk to about the D-League and their experiences, including former Marquette guards Vander Blue and Darius Johnson-Odom. Blue played in Idaho last year, and Johnson-Odom played for the Los Angeles D-Fenders and Springfield Armor during the past two seasons. Both players will able to earn ten-day contracts in the NBA from the D-League.
Also providing advice to Mayo was his brother OJ, a six-year NBA veteran, now with the Milwaukee Bucks. “He wasn’t happy with my decision to leave school, but he will always give me advice,” said Mayo. “He said I have to be a man now, and I always have to be willing to learn.”
Looking forward to his future, Mayo sees an opportunity for great growth. “I’m building a new brand now,” said Mayo. “My career at Marquette wasn’t always great, but it was a learning process. I just need to have a humble mindset and the sky’s the limit.”
D-League teams have already started to show interest in Mayo, and he will be having numerous private workouts with teams in the coming weeks.