Too Much Mayo in Milwaukee?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

In late August I chronicled the factors that brought OJ and Todd Mayo to the city of Milwaukee for their basketball endeavors. At that time the brothers appeared to have good opportunities and bright futures in front of them. OJ joined the Milwaukee Bucks presumably to be the main offensive option for a team that had the look of a fringe playoff contender. Todd, returned for his junior season at Marquette University, a team ranked in the top-20 by nearly every preseason poll. Neither player has performed particularly well this year.  However, the situations they found themselves in may not have been what they had expected a few months ago. In any case, it’s time to revisit the Mayos’ first season sharing Milwaukee’s basketball scene.

When OJ signed with the Bucks this summer he was coming off one of his better seasons in the NBA. As expected, OJ started at shooting guard for the Bucks when the regular season tipped off. What no one could have expected is how bad the Bucks have been this season. This team obviously was never going to contend for a championship, but they have performed dreadfully in all phases of the game. Right now they sit in last place, in what could be described as a terrible Eastern Conference, with an abysmal record of 9-39.  Though all of the Bucks’ problems can hardly be blamed completely on OJ, he has played far from inspired basketball.

In his first season in Milwaukee OJ Mayo has struggled in nearly all aspects of the game as his numbers are down all across the board. OJ has never been known as an offensive facilitator, preferring to take on defenses by isolating his defender, so it’s no surprise that his assist average has dropped from 4.4 per game to 2.4. Much more concerning is the fact that he’s scoring just 12.6 points per game while shooting a paltry 39.6% from the floor. It did not take long for Mayo to find himself coming off the bench which is something that he was not happy with back when he played for the Memphis Grizzlies. Between poor play, injuries and a recent illness, it does not seem like he will return to the starting lineup anytime soon, especially as the hype of Greek rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken over Milwaukee.

While OJ has struggled for the Bucks, Todd has not been much better at Marquette. There were high hopes for the Golden Eagles entering the season but the team has stumbled to a 12-10 record and is below .500 in the new Big East. Todd seemed like the natural choice to take over the backcourt vacancy left by Vander Blue. That has not been the case as Todd has yet to start a game for the Golden Eagles, although he does get significant playing time off the bench. In the opportunities he’s been given Todd has put up good numbers, scoring 9.2 points per game while shooting a solid 45%, but his play has not been consistent. The problem is that Marquette needs even more production out of him because Buzz Williams’ squad is offensively challenged. Like the rest of his tenure at Marquette, Todd’s season has had its bright spots like his performance against a top-5 Villanova team but his play and off court antics have been erratic.

Throughout his college career Todd has been rightfully scrutinized for off-the-court actions that have led to multiple suspensions. This year has been no different as he was suspended for the game against in-state rival University of Wisconsin. The reason for his suspension remains vague; it was stated that he violated team rules. What is clear is that Marquette could have used Todd’s offensive spark as they fell 70-64 to the Badgers, who at the time were ranked eighth in the country. Todd’s suspension was disappointing but did not surprise Marquette fans as this type of behavior has become the expectation for him. Todd’s talent has never been in question and it seems he has yet to realize the opportunity that was in front of him this year. Had he come into the season focused and committed he could have had a larger role on this Marquette team and maybe they would have a chance to make the NCAA tournament. Instead, Todd exemplifies just why the Golden Eagles will be in the NIT after three straight impressive March Madness performances.

For optimists like myself the Mayo brothers have been extremely disappointing, but for realists their performances have met expectations. It’s no secret that OJ and Todd have had their own off-the-court issues, but it seemed like this year was their chance for a fresh start. Leading up to the season opportunities were evident for both players. It seemed liked they could have a chance to become the focal point of Milwaukee’s basketball scene. Instead very little has been heard about the two brothers playing in the same city for the first time in years. Judging by their pasts this is probably a good thing. Though they are both talented it seems like they just do not have what it takes to step up when given the chance. For my basketball sanity I hope that is not the case.

OJ is under contract for another two years and could be a great contributor in the right situation. Todd on the other hand could still bring Marquette back to the NCAA tournament by finishing the regular season strong or stepping up big time in the Big East tournament and earning an automatic bid. While the opportunities are still there for the Mayos this has always been the case for their playing careers. Right now the evidence suggests that they are probably not worth the trouble for the Bucks and Golden Eagles. It seems like one brother in a city is enough but having two is just too much Mayo.

Topics: Buzz Williams, Marquette, Mayo Brothers, Milwaukee, OJ Mayo, Todd Mayo

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