MILWAUKEE — The Marquette University men’s basketball team should know more about the status of sophomore guard Todd Mayo in the next 24 hours, as grades from the first semester are set to be posted at 5 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Ruled academically ineligible on Nov. 5, Mayo has practiced the past two days with the Golden Eagles, a positive sign for his potential return. Though his status hasn’t been decided yet, Marquette head coach Buzz Williams plans to meet with Mayo and his parents Wednesday afternoon.
“I don’t have any games in mind relative to what we are going to do from this point forward,” Williams said of a potential set date of Mayo’s return. “I think my responsibility above all else is to help these kids grow as people. I think my second responsibility is to put them in the best position to earn a degree. I think my third responsibility is to help them to become the best player that they can be. Number one and number two have to be figured out relative to me, our team, Todd, Todd’s family. Once we figure out one and two that will help us figure out three better.”
The 6-foot-3 guard and brother of Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo averaged 7.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game as a freshman in 2011-12. Mayo was expected to play a much bigger role this season, and his ineligibility was a big blow to the Golden Eagles.
Mayo was suspended during the summer for an undisclosed reason, but he was reinstated in August. At media day in October, Mayo reveled the cause of his suspension was to better grow his relationship with Williams.
His teammates were certainly glad to see Mayo back at practice. Forward Jamil Wilson says he’s seen Mayo mature through the trying process.
“It’s good to see him around, it’s good to have him back,” Wilson said. “What he brings to the team, he’s excited. He’s just waiting until it all plays out. It’s good to have him around.”
Mayo’s return would be a giant shot in the arm for the Golden Eagles with Big East play right around the corner. Behind starters Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue, MU lacks guard depth. Trent Lockett has started at small forward, leaving Derrick Wilson, Jake Thomas and freshman Jamal Ferguson off the bench.
Though Wilson will continue to back up Cadougan at point guard, Mayo would certainly be an upgrade off the bench at the shooting guard position, bringing a scoring punch off the bench.
Will this be it? Wednesday’s meeting with UW-Green Bay happens to be the first road game for Marquette in the 11-game history of the series.
It also is the final game of the three-game contract between the two schools. The contract called for two home games for the Golden Eagles and this year’s game to be played at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Now the question is will Marquette look to extend the deal with the Phoenix, who are led by former Golden Eagles guard Brian Wardle?
“Is it the right thing to do, or the wrong thing to do? I don’t know,” Williams said. “I have great respect for Coach Wardle, what he’s done as a head coach and what he’s meant to this institution as a player. Is it the right thing going forward? The truthful answer to that is what league are we playing in, and how is that going to impact our nonconference schedule?”
Green Bay was picked to finish third in the Horizon League but has stumbled to a 3-7 start. Williams said he’s been on Green Bay’s side of things before and knows that the Phoenix’s record is directly impacted by playing seven of their first 10 games away from home.
Also struggling is Green Bay’s 7-foot-1 center Alec Brown. Considered by many NBA scouts as a potential high first-round draft pick, Brown is averaging 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting only 32.7 percent from the field.
Last season, Brown scored 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked five shots in Marquette’s 79-61 victory.
“He just ran circles around Davante (Gardner),” Williams said. “He’s as skilled of a guy outside of the lane as he is inside of the lane. Really good passer, can put it on the floor. There’s been more NBA teams that have come to see him than any of our guys.”
With a win Wednesday, Marquette would go 2-0 against two of the Division I schools in the state. Last year the Golden Eagles were the kings of the state, sweeping all three state schools, but this season they didn’t face UW-Milwaukee.