McDonald's All America Game Practices: Day One
O.J. Mayo, 65, 210 lbs, PG/SG, Signed with USC
Nick Calathes, 65, 185 lbs, PG, Signed with Florida
Austin Freeman, 65, 215 lbs, SG, Signed with Georgetown
Donte Greene, 69, 210 lbs, SF/PF, Signed with Syracuse
Gani Lawal, 69, 220 lbs, PF, Signed with Georgia Tech
J.J. Hickson, 69, 240 lbs, PF, Signed with NC State
Patrick Patterson, 68, 230 lbs, PF, Undecided
Jerryd Bayless, 63, 185 lbs, PG/SG, Signed with Arizona
Derrick Rose, 63, 195 lbs, PG, Signed with Memphis
Kevin Love, 69, 255 lbs, PF/C, Signed with UCLA
Michael Beasley, 69, 230 lbs, SF/PF, Signed with Kansas State
Kyle Singler, 68, 210 lbs, SF, Signed with Duke
Eric Gordon, 64, 212 lbs, PG/SG, Signed with Indiana
Blake Griffin, 69, 240 lbs, PF, Signed with Oklahoma
Cole Aldrich, 611, 250 lbs, C, Signed with Kansas
O.J. Mayo Interview
DraftExpress: So its over. Your six year high school varsity career is over. Whats it like now that is all over?
Mayo: Its good man, to put that behind you. What happened is history, and I cant go back and change it. I just have to get ready for the future. I have to get ready for tomorrow.
DraftExpress: Now you mentioned your history .You had a great year on the court, a not so great year off the court with those few incidents. Can you tell me about what happened with those incidents?
Mayo: Well there werent too many incidents, just two. With the first one, the referee fell and I got accused of pushing him. With the other, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time in my neighborhood. There was a drug bust two houses down, by my friends house and I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is all behind me now and Ive just got to keep moving on.
DraftExpress: Now tell me what it was like in your last game for Huntington, where you threw the ball off of the glass to yourself for the dunk at the end of the game, only to then throw the ball into the crowd. What was going through your mind at that time?
Mayo: It was all emotions. Like you said, its been six years and that was my last game. It was all emotions and we had won the state tournament. I didnt mean for it to be a big deal, but it happened.
DraftExpress: Can you compare your experiences in high school basketball in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia to each other?
Mayo: It was great. I had great support and great love in all three states. I miss all three. Ill be heading out to Cali next year, so its been a great experience to meet different people, play under different coaches, learn different things, and put them all into one.
DraftExpress: Now has Coach Floyd told you what position youll be playing at USC? Will you be playing point or shooting guard?
Mayo: He said in the NBA Im going to be a one, so Im going to play the one. Its always good to be a one with two guard skills, as far as shooting. Shooting is probably the last thing I need to work on. I really need to just work on controlling the tempo of the game, controlling the ball, and making players around me better.
DraftExpress: Who is your pick to win the final four?
Mayo: I had Kansas.
DraftExpress: Well with them being out, who are you going with?
Mayo: Ive gotta go Ohio State. Greg and Mike, theyre winners. They were winners at the high school level. Now theyre doing it in college, so I think theyve got the best chance.
DraftExpress: Obviously its not an option for you now, but what would you have done had the NBA not instilled their age rule?
Mayo: I still would have went to college. Its a once in a lifetime experience. The NBA is going to be there as long as you take care of your business, and thats always what Ive planned on doing.
DraftExpress: Do you prefer the McDonalds game as it is now with no scouts here, or do you think it would better with scouts here because it would make everyone step up their competition a bit?
Mayo: I can only speak for the east side, but on the east team, the competition is rising every day. Everyone is competing and playing hard, and thats what its all about. The scouts at times could be an extra distraction. Now this way you have to focus on playing hard and hopefully going well on Wednesday.
DraftExpress: They still have you listed for both the Roundball and Jordan games. Have you made your mind up as to what game youre going to play in yet?
Mayo: Youve got to go with what they list. Roundball and Jordan. I might do both.
DraftExpress: Now youre aware that if you play in both of those games, youre ineligible for school, right?
Mayo: I was just saying whatever they have listed. Im aware of the rule. I know you only get two all-star games. Im just going to see what game best fits me, and have my Mom get off work for whatever one best fits her too.
DraftExpress: What do you think about the way the summer camp circuit has changed? Do you like it with only one camp, or do you prefer it how it was when you were on the circuit with all three camps?
Mayo: I like it. I would have preferred if there was only one. That way all of the top players would have came to one camp instead of bsg over a shoe thing, or whatever company sponsors your AAU team. I think that can be a distraction at times too. I think you should just get all of the best players in the country at one gym, on one floor, and let them go at it.
DraftExpress: Now you mentioned bsg with shoe companies, can you tell me how much pressure these companies put on you to attend their camps and all-star games?
Mayo: Theres not really that much pressure. I kind of base it on who has the best players. I always felt like ABCD had most of the top players, so thats where I went to see where I stood. Theres not really a lot of pressure, but it has a lot to do with loyalty and who takes care of your team. For me though, I just go where the best players are.
DraftExpress: Now have you considered the alternative options of bypassing going to college to get to the NBA? Specifically the D-League, playing in Europe, or possibly just training for a year?
Mayo: No, no, no. I have never considered that in any way, shape, or form. Even when there was an opportunity for me to go to the NBA out of high school, I always wanted to go to college. I want to be in college. I didnt consider Europe, no D-League, none of that.
Nick Calathes Interview
DraftExpress: Do you prefer the current atmosphere of the McDonalds game this year with NBA scouts not being allowed to attend? Do you think it makes things more laid back, or would you prefer if there were scouts here so it would give you more of an opportunity to showcase yourself?
Calathes: Its both. You dont have to be that nervous if the NBA scouts arent here. If theyre here though, it gives you an opportunity to get looked at for the next level, so it works both ways.
DraftExpress: What are your personal thoughts on the NBAs age limit?
Calathes: I wish you could have went out of high school still. I dont know if I would have went straight to the NBA out of high school, but it still would have given us high schoolers the opportunity to go to the league.
DraftExpress: Now there have been some pretty strong rumors out there that Billy Donovan is considering leaving Florida and taking the job at Kentucky at the end of the season. If Coach Donovan does go to UK, have you decided what youre going to do?
Calathes: If he takes the Kentucky job, Im going to follow him probably Most likely. Hes the one who I want to play for and hes the reason that I committed to Florida.
DraftExpress: Is it the same case with your teammate Chandler Parsons?
Calathes: I havent talked to Chandler yet about it, but hed probably do the same thing.
DraftExpress: What are your thoughts on the way that the summer camp circuit has changed, with there now only being the LeBron James All America Camp? How do you think things would have been had there only been one camp when you were still on the circuit?
Calathes: It would have been real different because everyone would have went to that one camp. It would have probably been a lot more competition because a bunch of players in the nation were going either way (Nike, Reebok, or Adidas) to camp, so there would have been much more competition.
DraftExpress: Would you have preferred it that way with only one camp, or did you like it better with the three camps?
Calathes: Well it gives other kids a chance who arent top 25 players in the nation, so for the other ones, all three would be better for them. For the All Americans though, Id say the one would be best.
DraftExpress: With all of the different shoe companies coming at you and asking you to play in their games, how did you personally choose what other game to play in besides the McDonalds game?
Calathes: Nike has been loyal to me the whole time to me and I was going to show love to them. They have been following me since I was 15, giving me some gear and sponsoring my AAU and high school team. I am loyal, so Im staying with them.
DraftExpress: Is there any particular player that you pattern your game after?
Calathes: I think Im kind of a mix between Steve Nash and Mike Miller. Steve Nash has a really high basketball IQ and Mike Miller can really shoot, so I think Im a mix of those two.
DraftExpress: Have you spoken with Coach Donovan about what position youll be playing at Florida? Will you be playing both guard positions, or strictly point guard?
Calathes: Ill be playing the one, the two, and the three. Im going to be a combo.
DraftExpress: Are you ready to take on more of a scoring role if Corey Brewer, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah enter the NBA Draft, as many expect they will?
Calathes: I think that I just have to go with the flow and see if they need me to be a scorer, or whatever they need me to do.
DraftExpress: Well what areas of your game are you looking to improve upon the most by the time you reach Florida?
Calathes: Definitely getting stronger. I think if I get stronger, then Ill be able to play right away when I get there.
DraftExpress: Now it has to be tough on you being a taller point guard, going up against these smaller guys who are a little more quicker and athletic then you are. What do you do to try to make up for the fact that you arent quite as quick as a lot of these smaller guys?
Calathes: Theyve got speed on me, but I can see the floor over them. I am able to protect the basketball against them, and like I said, I can see over them. It really works both ways.