MILWAUKEE — After being suspended indefinitely from Marquette’s men’s basketball team at the end of June, sophomore guard Todd Mayo took part in the Golden Eagles’ media day Friday and is expected to be an integral part in Marquette’s plans this season.
Marquette coach Buzz Williams had previously refused to comment with any detail on the suspension, saying that there was “no specific incident” that caused the suspension this summer.
But on Friday, Mayo explained the reasons for his summer suspension — the second in his short collegiate career — one of which was due to his lack of a relationship with Williams. Mayo also clarified that the reason for his suspension was not due to academics.
“The season let out, and I was a little bit behind on some stuff,” Mayo said. “They just told me, you know, they sent me home to come back more focused, more prepared. And with all the coaches leaving, that was a big part of it because half of them were guys that recruited me — (Scott) Monarch, (Tony) Benford, Aki (Collins) — and I never really had a relationship with Buzz.”
Mayo said his closest relationship was with Collins, who he claimed was one of the main reasons he came to Marquette. And after Collins left to take an assistant coaching position at Memphis, Mayo was distraught without his closest confidant at hand.
“I came here because of Aki,” Mayo said. “I really didn’t have a relationship with Buzz and when those guys left, mentally, I was messed up in the head. I didn’t know who to look for, who to trust, and then on the other side of that, he wanted me to go to Memphis, go to this college, this and that, but at the same time, I just had to build a relationship with Buzz and let him know how I was thinking and how he felt about me and that’s what we built.
“I definitely wanted to stay here, but as a freshman, you look for someone to guide you like Aki was. Sometimes, when I was in a bad streak of games, you needed someone to talk to. I didn’t know Buzz could be that guy, and it took all summer to build that relationship.”
While serving his suspension, Williams instructed his young guard to contact him every day to begin building that relationship. So the two spoke on the phone every morning, slowly creating a bond that would make Mayo comfortable without the assistant coaches he was used to around him.
“I think that’s what he wanted to build,” Mayo said. “I think it was kind of a suspension, but most importantly, the way I look at it was about building a relationship with Buzz. I didn’t really do nothing to get suspended that bad. I think it was really, mentally, get a relationship with Buzz.
“I definitely feel like I’m in a better place because I can talk to Buzz. I can be open with him about anything right now. … It took that long to build that relationship.”