USA Today: Mayo Bringing a Positive Vibe to Southern Cal

(Image by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today)

A 20-year-old that already has the media skills of a savvy veteran?

“I’m just a ballplayer. Am I a competitive ballplayer? Yeah. Do I want to win? Do I really want to work harder than anyone? Yeah… I just have a God-given ability to play basketball, and I want to use that to the utmost to support my family and support myself. I’m no better than you. I’m no better than the man on the corner with a ‘Hungry’ sign. I just have a talent, and I want to use it.”

O.J. Mayo’s basketball skills will be evident from the get-go when USC tips off this Saturday at the Galen Center (1 pm).

Player bios after the jump.

Mayo bringing a positive vibe to Southern Cal [USA Today]

#0 Kyle Austin (So.) Ht. – 6-7 Wt. – 205 Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena HS) • Averaged 1.4 points and 1.6 rebounds a game as a freshman; Had season highs of 5 points and 5 rebounds in a game • Played a season-high 19 mintues vs. GWU at the 2006 Wooden Classic and was instrumental in USC’s comeback win • Averaged 21 points and seven rebounds in leading Pasadena High to a 25-4 record as a senior • Was named Pacific League MVP as a senior and shared the honors as a junior; 2-time Star News Player of the Year • Named to the Press-Enterprise Division1-A first team and was a LBPT 2006 Best in the West third-team selection

#33 RouSean Cromwell (Jr.) Ht – 6-11 Wt. – 225 Memphis, Tenn. (IMG Academy, Fla) • Appeard in 33 games (5 starts) and averaged 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds; Had a season-high 13 points vs. LBSU on 11/24 • Appeared in 15 games as a freshman, averaging 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds • Made quite a splash in Trojan debut with 17 points and 12 rebounds vs. CS Northridge on Nov. 20. It was the most rebounds by a USC freshman in a game since Sam Clancy had 14 on Feb. 6, 1999…since passed by teammate Taj Gibson • Averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game in 2005 while earning all-district honors as a senior at IMG Academy • Ranked the 14th-best center and 31st-best power forward in the country by RivalsHoops as a senior

#43 Kasey Cunningham (R-Fr.) Ht. – 6-7 Wt. – 225 Albuquerque, N.M. (Cibola HS) • Redshirted in 2006-07 while recovering from left knee surgery…spent the season working on his outside game and dribbling • Averaged 22.0 points and 15.0 rebounds with six blocks per game as a senior at Cibola High • Led team to a 13-1 record before suffering a season-ending left knee injury…had ACL surgery, missed the rest of the season • Began season widely regarded as the top player in New Mexico; Named to the LBPT Best in the West second team

#14 Mamadou Diarra (Fr.) Ht. – 7-0 Wt. – 230 Bamako, Mali. (Stoneridge Prep) • Averaged 8.1 points and 6.4 rebounds his senior season at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif.; As a junior led them in scoring with an 11.1 average • listed him as the No. 4 rated power forward in the 2007 class; Ranked the No. 65 prospect by • CNN/SI’s rankings of 2007 recruits listed him No. 40; Also listed him No. 7 among 5th-year players

#3 James Dunleavy (Fr.) Ht. – 6-6 Wt. – 190 Los Angeles, Calif. (Harvard-Westlake HS) • Did not play last season in high school as he had exhausted his eligibility; averaged 2.5 points as a junior • Made 21 of 55 three-point shots (38.2 percent) as a junior as Harvard-Westlake went 27-6 • Son of L.A. Clippers’ coach Mike Dunleavy and brother of Pacers’ guard/forward Mike Dunleavey, Jr.

#22 Taj Gibson (So.) Ht. – 6-9 Wt. – 225 Brooklyn, N.Y. (Calvary Christian HS, Calif.) • USC’s top returning scorer (12.2 ppg) and rebounder 8.7 (rpg); A 2006-07 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection • Set USC freshman records in rebounds (321) and blocks (69); Had 11 double-doubles, one of five freshmen in the country with that many, joing among others Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the top two selections in the 2007 NBA Draft • Had at least eight rebounds in 27 of 37 games and scored at least eight points in 34 of 37 games • Made the Pac-10 Conference All-Tournament team, as he scored 36 points and had 29 rebounds in the three games • Scored 51 points and grabbed 34 rebounds in the three NCAA Tournament games, with two double-doubles

#30 Terence Green (Jr.) Ht. – 5-11 Wt. – 180 Aliso Viejo, Calif. (Irvine Valley College) • Played in three games last season, his first active season for USC, but did not score • Transfered to USC for the spring semester of 2006 and practiced as a walk-on, but was ineligible for competition • Played high school ball at Aliso Niguel High; Helped lead the team to a 28-4 record his senior year • Was second-team all-CIF, All-Sea View League (3 years) and third-team All-Orange County

#13 Daniel Hackett (So.) Ht. – 6-5 Wt. – 205 Pesaro, Italy (St. John Bosco HS) • Started 16 games as a freshman and averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds…second on the team with 103 assists • Scored a season-high 20 points vs. Texas in the NCAA Tournament win on 3/18 • Originally a 2007 recruit, he graduated early by finishing high school in the summer of `06 and enrolled at USC for 2006-07 • Averaged just over 20 points a game at St. John Bosco; Ranked the 6th-best 2007 prospect in California by • Was on the Division 2A All-CIF team in 2004 and 2005; Named a first-team selection to the 2005-06 LBPT Dream Team

#5 Davon Jefferson (Fr.) Ht. – 6-8 Wt. – 215 Lynwood, Calif. (Lynwood HS) • Averaged 20.0 points & 12.0 rebounds at The Patterson School (N.C.) in 2006; Sat out 2nd half of season to focus on academics • In 2005 at Lynwood HS, averaged 26.0 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists • Was rated by as a 5-star recruit, the 15th prospect in the entire 2006 class and the No. 2 player from California

#1 Angelo Johnson (Fr.) Ht. – 5-11 Wt. – 180 Minneapolis, Minn. (Stoneridge Prep, Calif.) • Led Stoneridge Prep (Calif.) in scoring as a senior with a 13.7 average…also dished out 4.1 assists per game • As a junior, prepped at Marietta Convent Christian (Ga.) and averaged 19.2 points and 6.3 assists per game • Ranked the No. 9 prospect among fifth-year players by and the No. 114 recruit for 2007 by Rivals • Began his high school career at Patrick Henry HS in Minneapolis, Minn.

#21 Dwight Lewis (So.) Ht. – 6-5 Wt. – 215 Metairie, La. (James Taylor HS, Tex.) • Is USC’s second-leading returning scorer, averaging 5.8 points and 2.1 rebounds as a freshman; Top-returning 3-point shooter with 20 made in 2006-07; Scored a season-high 14 points on Feb. 24 vs. California • Played his senior season at James Taylor High in Katy, Tex. after being uprooted from Louisiana by hurricane Katrina • Scored 21 points per game as a senior in helping lead his team to a 17-10 record; Named first team All-Region • As a junior at Archbishop Rummel High in Metairie, La., he averaged 27.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game •Was a fourth-team selection to the 2004-05 Parade All-American team

#32 O.J. Mayo (Fr.) Ht. – 6-5 Wt. – 200 Huntington, W.V.. (Huntington HS) • Was the 2006-07 EA Sports National High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year; Was also selected a McDonald’s All-American, Parade All-American and USA Today All-USA team selection • Named the West Virginia High School Boy’s Player of the Year as he led Huntington to a 25-2 record and its first state title • Averaged 28.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds as a senior; Had 41 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in title game • Attended North College Hill his freshman-junior seasons, leading the Trojans to their first two state titles; Mayo left the school as its all-time leading scorer; His high school teams were a combined 99-5 with three state titles (2 OH, 1 WV) • Was Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball” as a sophomore & junior, joining LeBron James as the only sophomores to receive the honor • Scored 56 points vs. Lockland HS (OH) on Dec. 17, 2004; Averaged 20+ points playing varsity ball in KY in 7th & 8th grade

#20 Marcus Simmons (Fr.) Ht. – 6-6 Wt. – 200 Alexandria, La. (Peabody HS) • Averaged 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals as a senior at Peabody HS in Alexandria, La. • Helped lead Peabody to a 37-4 record and the 2006-07 Louisiana state championship; Named to the All-State team • Ranked as the No. 47 small forward in 2007 by • Slowed in the preseason with a high left ankle sprain

#2 Ryan Wetherell (So.) Ht. – 5-11 Wt. – 175 Calgary, Canada (Sir Winston Churchill HS) • Played in 15 games and logged a total of 49 minutes as a freshman; Had a season-best three points vs. B-CC on 12/14/06 • Scored in five of the first eight games he appeared; Had two points and two assists at Oregon State on 1/6/07 • Played three years of varsity at Sir Winston Churchill High; Was starting point guard and team MVP as a senior • Averged 30 points and eight assists as a senior; Helped lead his Junior Trojans club team to the provincial championship three straight years, earning MVP honors each season (2004-06)

#23 Keith Wilkinson (Jr.) Ht. – 6-10 Wt. – 225 Mission Viejo, Calif. (Capistrano Valley HS) • Played in 33 games (5 starts), averaging 1.5 points & 1.9 rebounds last year as a sophomore; Played in all 3 NCAA games • Scored a career-high nine points and dished out a career-best three assists on 3/1/07 at Washington • Appeared in 19 games as a freshman, averaging 1.1 points and 1.4 rebounds • Averaged 16 points and eight rebounds a game for Capistrano Valley HS (Calif.) during his senior season • Led his team in rebounding (230) and three-point baskets (55)…was second on the team in points (471) and blocks (37) • Scored 20 points per game in leading Capistrano Valley to the CIF Div. IIAA semi-finals, where they lost 57-54 to eventual champion Dominguez • His father, Jerry, played four years in the NFL for the Rams and Browns

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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