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Marquette Year in Review: Todd Mayo

(Paint Touches)

(Paint Touches)

We apologize for these player reviews being so late into the offseason — Marquette played its last game nearly two months ago — but that pesky thing called the real world got in the way. That, and the coaching chance made us put these bad boys on the back burner. We’ll try and give you some good information while also linking back to the stellar work Anonymous Eagle did on its respective player reviews. We’ll have a dab of Synergy, a touch of KenPom and our own eye-test analysis to break down exactly what each player did well, where he struggled and how he can improve for next season. For the seniors, that final part will be replaced with where he’s headed post-Marquette.

Past player reviews

4/28: Deonte Burton
4/29: Juan Anderson
4/30: Steve Taylor

Todd Mayo, 6-foot-3, SG

Take yourself back, if you can, to Marquette’s 74-59 loss to St. John’s exactly three months ago. It was far and away the Golden Eagles’ worst performance of the season, as a lifeless offense trailed by 13 in the first half, as many as 26 in the second half and shot just 35 percent from the floor in a loss that was much worse than the score showed. In that game there were plenty of horrid performances, none worse than Todd Mayo. He failed to score in 12 minutes, turned the ball over four times in 12 minutes and was called for a technical foul before being yanked midway through the second half.

That game could have been a falling out for Mayo, a junior who had butted heads with Buzz Williams more times than anyone cared to count and had struggled through his ups-and-downs as much as anyone to date. With 10 games left in the season, Mayo could have coasted; Marquette’s tournament hopes were all but dashed, his playing time was fluctuating by the minute in place of Jake Thomas and, like the rest of the team, he wasn’t having fun.

Instead, Mayo turned things around after that Feb. 1 debacle as well as anyone. Whether he caught a hot streak, whether the scoreless outing in Madison Square Garden was a wake-up call or whether he wanted to make one last-ditch effort to save Marquette’s season, he was lights-out in his final 10 games.

[MORE: Why Todd Mayo is what the Marquette offense needs]

Beginning with a 17-point performance in a win over Butler, Mayo finished the season averaging 15.7 points on 47 percent shooting and got to the free throw line 61 times, making 51 of them. Not to be forgotten were the 32 assists he handed out in that span, three more than he accumulated in his first 20 games. He saw his minutes increase from 21.5 to 29 per game, and arguably was Marquette’s best player in the final third of the season. Digging even further, Mayo averaged 22.3 points in his final three games, including a 26-point, 11-rebound effort at Providence.

He played hero multiple times, finally looked like a player that wanted the ball in the clutch and got to the rim with ease, finally straying away from just being a jump shooter (and those awful step-backs).

Whether or not you believe in late-season surges carrying over into the next, there’s no denying Mayo gained important confidence down the stretch. On an offense that severely lacked firepower outside of Davante Gardner and the good version of Jake Thomas, Mayo was a bright spot able to do a bit of everything, coming off screens, running in transition and playing the pick-and-roll better than he did a year ago. Both his Offensive Win Shares and Offensive Rating were second on the team, behind Gardner in both categories, and the fact that he improved his field goal percentage by 11 full points from a year ago and just about every other major category from his impressive freshman campaign tell the story: Mayo was a plus on offense, and his arrow is pointing up.

[MORE — By the numbers: Todd Mayo’s improvement]

Unfortunately, the defensive side of things trended down for a third straight season. It’s of course easier to determine a player’s worth on offense than it is defense, but the limited numbers we do have suggest Mayo didn’t give the Golden Eagles’ defense much.

Per Synergy, Mayo’s 1.02 points per possession-allowed was worst on the team by a large margin, and in the 14th percentile nationally. Perhaps it’s a matter of Mayo’s uptick in offense leading to less focus on defense, but he again struggled much of the year and had few memorable possessions guarding the ball.

Still, Mayo had a positive +/- on the year and provided valuable offense to a team that desperately needed it. He’s in line to start at shooting guard in 2014-15 and play close to the 30 minutes he averaged in the final 10 games. After sitting behind Darius Johnson-Odom as a freshman, Vander Blue as a sophomore and Thomas as a junior, Mayo managed to stick around for all four seasons and is finally in line to be the go-to guy on offense.

Jajuan Johnson should be chomping at the bit to prove a certain former head coach wrong about benching him last season, and that should provide good competition for Mayo. But as far as senior scorers go in Division I, this is now Mayo’s team. Steve Wojciechowski should implement an offense built around getting outside shooters open looks, and with a solid distributor in Matt Carlino alongside of him his numbers across the board should improve yet again.

As Wojciechowski told Michael Hunt earlier in the week, everyone on the team is starting with a clean slate. Wojciechowski likely meant that from a basketball perspective, but in Mayo’s case it’s a personal clean slate, too. He has a chance to keep himself in line and finish out his turbulent Marquette career with a squeaky clean senior season.

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