Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pass the Mayo

For those of us in Huntington, WV, this has been an exciting basketball season. The 2-time defending state champion Huntington High Highlanders are ranked 3rd in the country according to USA Today and have a chance to win the national title.

Joining standouts Patrick Patterson and Chris Early this year is the high school phenom, O.J. Mayo. He is arguably the best high school player since LeBron James.

As Mayo returned to his hometown for his senior year, some folks were a little concerned that team chemistry might have problems with such superstars combining their considerable talents. (Memories of Randy Moss' talent and the shenanigans that went with him are still fresh in these parts.)

Fortunately, all of those concerns quickly disappeared as Mayo has consistently passed first and shot second. Finding a way to make an exceptionally good team into a national power.

Along the way, he has also been extremely articulate. Praising his teammates and his opponents - even when they were clearly not as talented. It has been a special year.

The icing on the top of the cake though was when I learned what O.J. Mayo scored on his ACT college entrance exam. What did this talented basketball score? A 29.

In case you don't know that is a HUGE score - better than 95 percent of all those who take the test each year, and remember that many high school students don't even take the test. So Mayo is scoring higher than 95 percent of those going to college. That's not too shabby.

It will be interesting following Mayo's career at USC and beyond along with Early who is going to Oklahoma and Patterson who is still deciding where to play in college.

Patterson is the nation's highest rated high school senior who hasn't picked his college yet. He says the reason that he hasn't announced his choice yet is because he wants the scouts to see his teammates play who haven't been offered scholarships yet. That's not too shabby either.

FYI - for those who haven't seen Huntington play in person yet, just imagine Larry Johnson (Patterson), LeBron James (Mayo), Penny Hardaway (Early) and a few more college players playing together and you will have a pretty good idea.

The following highlights are from a recent game against Greenbrier East and are pretty typical. Enjoy the show.



Let's go Highlanders! Win the national title with a public school team from WV and show those high-priced private schools what a public high school can do.

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