It was pure dominance for Huntington HS in the 2007 WVSSAC State Tournament, as the Highlanders won by an average margin of nearly 50 points per game with their star player O.J. Mayo averaging 27 points and 10.3 assists in the three game tournament in limited playing time. Fellow McDonalds All American Patrick Patterson chipped in with averages of 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 blocks per game over the three day affair. It marked the first time in West Virginia history that a team has ever won the Class AAA championship in three consecutive years, and will serve as the final chapter in the illustrious high school basketball career of O.J. Mayo.
Near the conclusion of Huntington s championship 103-61 championship victory over South Charleston , Mayo decided he was going to go out with a bang. With a little over a minute to go in the game, Mayo got the ball on a breakaway and threw an off of the backboard pass to himself from beyond the three point line for a tip dunk, only to then heave the ball into the stands, a la Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons. A technical foul was issued, but it was a fitting end to the controversial career of Mayo, given the flare that he carries himself with on the floor. Below is a video of the dunk:
Here are DraftExpress detailed player breakdowns on both Mayo and Patterson from their 103-39 win over Fairmont Senior in the quarterfinal game:
O.J. Mayo, 65, PG/SG, Senior, Huntington HS, Signed with USC
14 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 5-11 FG, 4-7 3PT in 20 minutes
If one were to look at statistics alone from this game, it would be hard to believe that the nations top player had an awfully strong performance. However, when you consider that he was playing the small forward position for the majority of the game and even the power forward position at times, then his numbers are a bit more appealing.
Against Fairmont Senior, the one aspect of Mayos game that stood out more then anything else was his remarkable court vision. He began the game very passive, playing a point forward role and looking to get his teammates involved before looking to score for himself. The Huntington native threw numerous alley-oops to Patrick Patterson, and threw a gorgeous left handed bounce pass off the dribble to a streaking teammate for an easy bucket. When he had the ball in his hands, he completely controlled the tempo of the game and showed the ability to lead an offense, an aspect of his game that has been questioned countless times in the past.
In terms of scoring the basketball, all of Mayos points came off of 4 three pointers and one explosive slam dunk. He hit two contested three pointers from NBA range off of the dribble, leaving fans shaking their heads in disbelief. This explosive combo guard showed the ability to create his own shot off of the dribble, come off of multiple screens, and shoot from a stationary position, leaving very little to question about his shooting ability. As we have mentioned countless times, O.J. has textbook form on his jumpshot combined with NBA range at such a young age, an anomaly for a high school player.
Despite the fact that the former Cincinnati North College Hill star was not running the show, he showed off his precious ball handling skills throughout the game via tight crossovers and inside out dribbles. He literally looks like he has the ball on a string, keeping it low and tight while making whatever move he wanted to while out there on the floor. In terms of actual ability to handle the ball, there is no doubt at all about O.J.s ability to play point guard at the next level.
Although the competition was nowhere near what he will face next year at USC, Mayo displayed the potential to become a lockdown defender, if he chooses to be, at the next level. He was able to consistently stay in front of and pressure the heck out of any opposing players, while keeping out of foul trouble. His effort on the defensive end is what remains inconsistent at times, as we have seen him as both a shutdown guy and a liability on the defensive end in the same game at times. As long as he decides to exert anything near maximum effort on the defensive end, we are looking at a player who will be able to help his team greatly due to his combination of size, strength, and quickness for a combo guard prospect.
The two areas of Mayos game that were most questioned throughout the years were his shot selection and ability to run a team; Both of which appeared to no longer be apparent in the state tournament. He showed the he has the ability to score when needed, just as well as play the role of playmaker when need be. O.J.s shot selection has improved drastically over the past season, making him that much more impressive of a prospect. With USCs lack of a true point guard, he will have the ability to show off his playmaking skills in one of the strongest conferences in America next year. DraftExpress feels strong enough that Mayo will have immense success at the collegiate level that there is no doubt in our mind that he is the top prospect in the 2008 draft class, barring some sort of miracle that Greg Oden or Kevin Durant decide to stick around for another year.
Patrick Patterson, 68, PF, Senior, Huntington HS (considering Duke, Florida , Kentucky , Virginia , Wake Forest , and West Virginia )
27 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks, 4 steals, 12-13 FG, 3-4 FT, in 20 minutes
Patterson was simply a man amongst boys against Fairmont Senior on his 18th birthday, as the numbers reflect. His physical prowess and soft touch allowed him to miss only a single shot on the night, while leaving the crowd awfully pleased with his numerous emphatic dunks. Physically, he was far superior to any player on the floor, so it was a bit unfair to come to any definitive conclusions about him after a game against subpar competition, whose biggest post player was 64.
There were a few things that could be taken away from his performance, however. Namely, it was clear that Patterson has done an excellent job of expanding his shooting range over the past year. At this time in 2006, his range was limited to 10 feet tops. Now he is able to step out to approximately 16 feet and his a jumpshot consistently, as well his hit a turnaround jumper out of the post to about 12 feet. Another strength of the Huntington stud was his remarkable hands, displayed by the fact that he caught absolutely everything that was thrown to him throughout the entire game. His hands dont stop on just his ability to catch the ball, as he has about as soft a touch as you could look for a big man around the basket as well.
Defensively, the undecided senior was has proven to be outstanding, regardless of level of competition. His tenacious mentality allows him to literally manhandle most opposing post players, and if you combine that with his solid defensive fundamentals, you will understand why he will be an immediate impact player on the defensive end of the floor next season. He does an excellent job of boxing out, timing his leaps as perfectly for his rebounds as he does for his shot blocking attempts. Even if the number didnt demonstrate his defensive dominance, his immense physical traits and timing would show you the immense potential that he has to be an impact player at the next level as a stopper at the power forward position.
In terms of physical traits, there isnt a whole lot you could as for out of a four man then what Patterson gives you. He has a massive wingspan along with an NBA ready body, making him a nightmare for fellow 18 year olds to go up against. He possesses underrated leaping ability for a player his size, and will shock many with his explosive leaping ability. While he is no Dwight Howard or Michael Beasley in terms of leaping ability, Patrick is far beyond what you would get out of your normal power forward prospect.
The only thing that is holding Patterson back from being a top 10 prospect in the class of 2007 is his lack of prototypical size for a power forward at only 68, however he does make up for his lack of height with his tremendous length. Wherever he decides to attend next year, he will most likely start from day one due to his matured body and skill set for such a young player. The explosive power forward is certainly a player who most will project to be an immediate impact player as a frosh, so there will certainly be some talk of him as a draft prospect, although we feel that he would be best suited to spend at least two years before considering the NBA Draft.