Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
1/29/2007 04:23:00 PM
Prep phenom O.J. Mayo was ejected from a high school game on Friday night in Charleston, W.V.
Yup. That's your potential No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, USC recruit O.J. Mayo, being led off the court of a high school game in West Virginia by police on Friday. The same week his Huntington High team was named No. 1 in the Rise/SI.com prep rankings, Mayo was whistled for two technical fouls in a win over state rival (Charleston) Capital High. The first was for taunting a rival player after a dunk, and the second was for further verbal sparring on the other end of the floor. In the process of disputing the calls, Mayo made contact with the ref, Mike Lazo -- and Lazo fell to the ground. The conflict then escalated to the point where you see Mayo above, making his best Jon Scheyer face on the way to the exit.
The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch has been all over this story from the beginning, and while the initial reports seemed damning to Mayo, new details -- namely, videos of the incident -- make someone else look foolish: the ref. The two Ts Lazo whistled were within reason, but what happened when he was approached by Mayo was both embarrassing and hilarious. Sorry, Lazo, but this looks like a flop straight from a Best Of Vlade Divac tape. Bill Bands, an attorney from Charleston who was at the game, told the paper, "I think O.J. Mayo should have controlled himself better. But this ref took a dive. He wasn't pushed. It wasn't that necessary. It was definitely the worst officiated game I've seen on any level."
Control and balance...the ref was shoved from behind by a HS student. The HS student BB player should never have been in that position. Unacceptable behavior on a HS students part. Lets quit condoning bad behavior.
2) is this who you want representing ncaa/nba basketball? I don't know the man (or maybe boy), but his past history, combined with this, doesn't look promising. Ron Artest?
In fairness, though, LeBron James was suspended several times his final season of high school (though those were all money issues), and he has been a fairly high model of character thus far into the league
Winn's a typical media ho. This player makes physical contact with the ref and he ends up turning it around to blame the ref, not the player. I'm shocked I tell you. Shocked that a pearl of the sports media would protect a player. Shocked! *snort*
Were we to use the NFL "upon further review" standard, the call against Mr. Mayo stands. Was the bump hard enough to put the ref down? Perhaps not, but it is not so obvious as you would try to paint it. Did a HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER BUMP A REFEREE? Absolutely. A larger question - WHY is SI, a heretofore reputable national publication, defending a kid who got two T's for mouthing off and then BUMPED a REF? Embarassing. This one belongs in SI's "This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse" column.
He walked up to the ref, and the ref got bumped and obviously took a dive after feeling the contact. That ref should NEVER be allowed to ref a game again, and he owes Mayo an apology. Mayo, while maybe deserving the T's didn't deserve to be put under the microscope by the antics of some foolish, inept referee.
Flop or no flop, the kid has absolutely no place putting his hands on an official. After getting tossed, Mayo should've gone straight to the showers. He had no business approaching the official, much less touching him. It looked to me like there was a definite push, however, how strong that push was we'll never know. But I promise you one thing: had that been Luke Winn getting two-handed to the back, little Luke would've gone down a lot harder and a lot quicker than this poor referee.
Call it a flop if you want, but why the h$ll was Mayo approaching him in the first place? He's grown up watching NBA and college superstars go toss an arm around the ref, buddy-buddy like, chat with them after calls, give them a nice little a$$ tap after a call - or just getting in their ear about what a terrible call they made. He's a kid who has been told he's a superstar since he was 12, and hey, well that's what superstars do right? Accept the call, go to your bench, and live to play another day. Nothing good can come of approaching the ref in a volatile situation like that.
How about we remember that this is a KID we are talking about and KIDS sometimes do fooolish things and make foolish mistakes. Truthfully, I think it was a dive and because he is a star, we think that it HAS to be his fault. Good on the ref to try to get over, though.
In fairness Luke, Mayo was already ejected from the game when that happened. The 2nd T came from walking through the middle of a referee huddle at mid-court. You might want to approach WSAZ out of Huntington for their coverage it was pretty good. They also talked to the referee who said he asked Mayo to stop taunting more than once before the Technical foul was given.
I know some people who were at the game and they said it was bad. But if a kid in continuously taunting what else do you do but warn him and eventually give him a T. Also, Pat. Patterson is on that team he is also a top 10 player and he never gets in this type of trouble, maybe it is Mayo after all not the officials.
Luke, how can you conclude it was a "dive" based on this video? Regardless, O.J. should have been heading to the bench at that point anyway, not pleading his case because he believes he's entitled to an explanation--something to which "normal" high school players would not feel entitled. Give the ref a break. Trying to keep games like this--with completely unbalanced athletic skills on the competing teams--under control would be really, really tough.
Luke, as a former official let me clear the air. For one the official at hand is a former college football quarterback, the question of whether he took a dive is ridiculous. If he fell for a reason it was because he was forearmed in the back. The reason you can't see this is because the film was shot from behind. The first tech was warranted as you can see he dunks, catches the ball, doesn't throw it back and taunts. The second tech was due to OJ not adhering to Lazo's request to stay at the other end of the court. He didn't and as he walks by the group of Capitol players that he was taunting he was again t'd up, and rightfully so. Luke, before you print stories up get your facts straight.
Don't know what occurred to get the Ts. Deserved? probably. Should never have been that close to an official to begin with. WHERE WAS THE HUNTINGTON COACH????? Shouldn't the adult in charge (if he is) be held responsible? Or is he cashing in also?
This is ridiculous, another example of high school referees on power struggles. I doubt anyone who has posted in favor of this referee has played a High School sport in say the past 10 years. Referees are increasingly becoming more inadequate and under qualified. Also do we know what was said to warrant the second technical? No we don't, so if nothing bad was said on Mayo's part, I would sure as hell expect him to protest, and if you were a fan of his team, you would too.
Someone pointed out that Patterson doesn't do this types of things. I believe that the same official gave Patterson two technicals in a game last year and he had to sit for two games including one of Huntington's two losses. What is common here? The official. I have watched a number of different video's and there was certainly no push with two hands in the back. Mayo's hands never left his side. He may have bumped into him with his chest but he certainly didn't push him with two hands. The other issue that indicates it was the official is throwing out 5 guys on the bench. They stood up and looked at what was going on. They made no move at all to get involved and they are suspended for two games as well. The official needs to be suspended is anyone needs to be suspended.
All you guys defending the ref should be ashamed. OJ Mayo deserved his techs, but at the worst his bump was accidental. "Shoved"? I don't think so. Players get T'd up for trash talk all the time, that's nothing new or dramatic. However, what the ref did is very unusual, and incredibly irresponsible.
The unfairness of putting OJ Mayo under a microscope by trying to falsely portray him as acting in a violent manner is bad enough. But far worse, what the ref did could have caused violence on the part of the fans or players if they had thought OJ Mayo had really done something. Thank god the fans at that game could see better than you posters that the ref flung himself like he was shot out of a damn cannon.
The refs' actions could have led to an escalation of the incident from a typical, minor bout of trash talk into real violence, and for a referee to do anything that could actually cause a situation to get out of hand is the ultimate violation of his duties. He should never, ever ref again. Period.
Condoning bad behavior?!?!?!? WHAT BAD BEHAVIOR!?!?! He recieved two technical fouls. I am sure he deserved them both. Let's say YOU are playing high school ball (regardless of your stardom) and you get T'd up twice and are ejected. Would you not do the same thing? How could he "have no place approaching the refferee?" How can you possibly blame him for approaching the dat gum refferee!? He could have done cartwheels around the court or stood on his head and sang the dat gum national anthem and the ref would still have fallen and blamed the player. And how on God's green earth could you conclude that the ref was "shoved." Mayo's hands NEVER LEAVE HIS SIDE! If he had blatenly shoved the ref, do you think he would have done it in SECRET or something?!?! "Hey, man, watch this. I'm gonna go tap mr. ref as hard as i can and let's see if he falls over!"
look my brother is a ref and so i understand this sitation because i have also play watched high school for the last couple of years and i agree nathan. half the refs arent qualifed and just ref to have power over the game. this ref ovbisouly thought he would get some attention from this so he flop. now i dont know why o.j. was approaching him in the 1st place and he problay shouldnt apporach a ref but for everybody to start saying is a bad kid because of two T's and a flop from the ref is stupid.
also anyone who has defended the ref go to youtube and watch the flope by the ref. i can see maybe stumbling but the whole turning around thing is stupid and ridiuolucs and the ref should be supsened
Guys, you must see the YouTube version, which is definitely working. Shows the whole thing. First T was okay. Second T was a total joke. Mayo doesn't say anything. The "contact" is barely even there. This ref sells it like he was shot. Must be looking for money. Don't get me wrong. Suspend Mayo for two games, thems the rules, but look into this ref. He is a joke.
All these people saying the ref was "shoved" are moronic. how do you shove someone, with YOUR ARMS IN THE AIR. and although the taunting technicals were probably deserved, i dont think any of us realize what kind of sh*t Mayo gets from other players on the court as well as the fans. As a high school student and attendee of many basketball games, you always get on the other players best team, and no one i have seen is going to play Division 1. He must have it worse than we can imagine
I happen to officiate both high school bball and college bball at the NAIA level. I do believe that the first T was absolutely deserved. The 2nd T is questionable. I personally would fault the entire officiating crew for losing control of the game. There shouldn't be players milling around when we are getting ready to shoot free throws. Additionally, as a referee we always try our best to not give someone the 2nd T as well. That should of been something taken care of by one of his partners. When a ref gives both T's to one player during an ejection... it can reflect poorly and look personal. I'm not going to say the 2nd T was bad... but maybe it should of been called by someone else.
As far as the fall is concerned... WOW what a flop! The referee completely flopped there. A grown man who is 6 ft tall is not going to fall down that easy. Pretty funny to me, but very disturbing to me as well. I would have some hard questions for this referee.
HEY MR. FORMER OFFICIAL!!!! LOOK AT THE FREAKIN VIDEO AND PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TELL ME WHERE HE WAS "FOREARMED IN THE BACK!!!!!" The video was shot from behind and you can SEE BOTH HIS ARMS!!! GOOD GOD GIVE ME A BREAK!!! you see both his arms and neither of them make contact with the zebra! .....i gotta see that video again.....he must have a third arm somewhere.......he MUST have.......
Wow, I hadn't heard about this at all and then I watched the video. Mayo did have intention when he approached the ref...the intention was to ask why he got a second technical. Yes as everyone has pointed out we should never ever question a call in a game and how dare OJ Mayo question a call. It looks like he accidentally bumped into a ref. Not bumped a ref. Bumped into a ref. I've done it hundreds of times in a game, including when I was questioning a call and they don't take a head first dive like that. Pathetic. Quit making this guy into a monster. He got two technicals in a game for what...being a teenager. Everyone talks trash. He threw no punches. He didn't push anyone (including the ref). He's not firing guns into the air. He's not doing coke in the locker room. He talked some trash and looked to accidentally bump a ref when he was questioning a call. Let's just hang him now.
I can't believe most of the people here siding with the ref. Yes, Mayo was wrong to follow the ref, but if anything the Mayo was walking a little faster and nudged him from behind. No matter how hard you bump someone like that, you're going to fall to the ground. That ref was out of line and wanted to be able to say be threw Mayo out of a game. PLus if you watch the video it doesn't even look like Mayo says much to warrarnt the second technical that leads Mayo to follow the ref.
From the videotape, it sure appears that Mayo got close to the ref, as if coming up behind him to question him, and may have brushed up against him, but he does not appear to use his hands or otherwise intentionally shove the man. Unfortunately, this incident detracts from the fine season Huntington High is having. They are double-defending state champs and have at least 5 division 1 prospects on the team besides Mayo. He may be lost but he sure can play, as can his teammates.
Are we forgetting that this was a rivalry game? I forgot that no one talks trash during rivalry games and that no one gets thrown out of rivalry games either. I am in no way saying that I condone the taunting because I for one believe that taunting is moronic, but if I was given a 2nd technical for walking around the court, I would be pissed off too and ask questions. Also could he have been walking back to half court, where he would need to be if the other team was shooting a technical foul? I think the whole situation was ridiculous and got blown way out of proportion.
Also I think it's amazing how we can automatically make the assumption that this guy is a goon because he is going to USC. I mean they have produced nothing but arrogant jerks. People never cease to amaze me.
He clearly didn't push the ref with his arms or hands. What you don't see is what is happening below the waist. It looks like the refs knee was hit from behind by Mayo's knee, which can easily cause someone to lose their balance and fall. It was not a dive. Mayo should never have been that close to the ref and deserved the suspension. But in this day and age no one can get punished without the approval of the Supreme Court, so...
After watching this video- it is evident that: A- all of the posters blasting the player and defending the ref are either blind or biased in some other way. and B- this ref had an agenda.
I can see nothing that this player did that warranted the reaction of the ref. Luke- call em like you see em- I agree. This ref is an embarrassment to the state of West Virginia and as a native of West Virginian I am ashamed of this "theatre". That's all it was- an over-compensating wanna-be jerk-fulfilling his fantasy of control in a situation that he created.
I cannot believe how poorly this reflects on West Virginians.....what should have been something for them to take price in (Huntington High & it's players)was thrown away by this stupid man and the ramifications of his actions.
It doesn't even matter if the ref flopped, you don't come up on the ref from behind and bump him after you've been ejected for taunting and talking trash. I understand he's just a kid, but that is when you have to teach them that you can do stuff like this. You wonder why a lot of athletes have behavior problems?, it stems from stuff like this. When they're young, they can get away with anything because coaches want to win. The judge allowing him to play just makes it worse. If he would have had to sit out against another top ranked team, he would have remembered this incident for a long time, and probably learned from it. Now all he learns is that he's special and able to disrespect people in ways that other people aren't.
I love the idiots who say that the referee was bumped not pushed. (especially the one who claims that he bumped referees hundreds of times. Maybe he was sharing his sexual fantasies).
NO PHYSICAL is allowed. None. No justification, no reasoning. You can be kicked out for JUST menacing a referee without touching him.
But hey,... that's what high school sports is all about, isnt it? As long as a player is good enough, schools will bend over backwards to keep them on the court. And the smaller the town, the more the situation is tolerated. Anyone who has grown up in small football towns knows how it is.
It one thing for sure the ref should not be reefing this game if he's a power hunger ref; u people are quick to blame. The first tech, I understand but the second tech I didn't understand he look at the player and said nothing to him and give him a tech as he walked by. Then the ref pull an Oscars Awards Performance flop to the ground and act like he's the victim, mayo should just left him alone. I know how u feel when ref make stupid calls, as I play in a minor league in my city my self and the ref make bad calls and judgment. He wasn’t intentionally tried to bump the ref but people are going to go against you no matter what.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the 2 T's, and not the bump/shove, warrent the 2-game suspension? Anyway, a player knows not to get thisclose to a referee...Even if it was accidental, there was physical contact...end of story...
You Guys are ridiculous, Mayo didnt even touch the ref. He made a great dunk, opened his mouth a little and gets 2 Technicals, thrown out of the game, scrutinized by the media, and arrested!?!?!?! Are you kidding me?? Some people on here lack common sense. Comparing this kid to Ron Artest is asanine. He was just into the game, it was a high profile game against a rival. Lay off the kid!!!
seriously people, we can't even see his feet, and if you watch closely it is obviously his legs that are causing him to fall so maybe they just got tripped up, the ref never seemed to claim that mayo pushed him over. And also, Mayo is an idiot who should not be allowed to play in the NBA unless he realizes that he is a role model and needs to act that way. Woo hoo you dunked the ball, act like you've done it before, ever heard of class? Stop trying to look tough and trying to be a gangster and just play basketball.
Mayo should not have walked toward the ref, flop or not. He should be serving a suspension. Any other HS basketball player in America would be serving a suspension. It's too bad he's learning that he is bigger than the game at such a young age.
This isn't the first time and certainly won't be the last time Mayo acts like a punk. With the taunting and lack of maturity and discipline, he will gracefully take over the role Reggie Bush had at Southern Cal. Fight On !
Before the second T is whistled you can see the ref just wait to do it. He just watches OJ and decides to T him up. he puts the whistle in his mouth and just waits. The ref was on a total power trip. OJ just brushed him and he trips and falls and looks up at OJ when he's on the ground.
Being from the Huntington area (but from Ohio) I have seen this incident get lots of coverage on our local media. If you watch the youtube video, you clearly see that Mayo never once said a single word to get his second tech. The game itself was filled with more trash talking, from both sides, than you could imagine, and if you saw the whole game, it was laughable to see what Mayo was given techincals for in comparison. The report by the Huntington High head coach states that before the game this offical came up to the coach and told him specifically that we wasn't going to put up with anything from Mayo at all. It was clear that the offical had a clear cut biased against Mayo, for whatever reason, before the ball was even tipped. It should be noted that when his suspension (for getting 2 T's) was appealed in a court of law, they were granted an injunction and he was allowed to play, in large part because it was obvious to most everyone (including all media from both Huntington and Charleston, which is where the opposing team was from) that the calls and the ref's actions were a farce. His actions were so bad in fact that he was being completely grilled on all local radio stations in the following days, even those not coming out of Huntington.
Now while i am not a particular fan of Mayo at all, I am a huge fan of basketball and the calls against this kid were an embarrassment to the sport. It was obvious that this one particular offical had it out for him from the beginning. The way this man's name has been talked about in the local media throughout WV, it is very doubtful that he will ever ref another basketball game, and I would be very shocked if his phone is on the hook anymore.
If you'd like the whole story behind this and not just the little clips, which don't show all the context of the incident or the game, check out the web site of the wsaz, which is a news station out of both Huntington and Charleston. Don't damn a kid just because you see a photo that you don't like of him. Check out all of the facts and then make an informed decision.
First of all that was an absurd dunk. Second of all that 1st tech was pretty weak he was just talking smack. Nothing like that ever happens in the NBA right? Yeah well it does that just shows he has passion and won't back down. The second tech was RIDICULOUS!! He didn't say a word and the ref was just following him around. If that has happened to me I would have flipped out too. I don't even know if he made contact with the ref at all this whole thing is bogus no matter how much all these "basketball purist" types whine about how he's a thug Mayo is a baller, will be a baller in college and will be a baller in the NBA and some punk ref won't stop that.
Okay...the people who say that he put his hands on the official...are absolute idiots. If you are watching the video, you would see that he doesn't actually put his hands on him, and the flop should really make a Vlade highlight reel. This is a case of a ref trying to make the game about himself, and not about the kids. The media has created the hype about OJ Mayo, and the arena was packed to see him play, not to see a ref call a ridiculous 2nd tech when it really wasn't called for. For that, he should lose his ability to officiate. It was a personal publicity thing, and it's shameful.
I have a 9 year old son that plays little league baseball as well as a hometown junior basketball league. I've told him time and time again that if I EVER hear him question a ref's call...I will come out of the stands and embarrass the H*LL ouf of him in front of God and everybody. It is NOT a childs (and regardless of this kids talent, he is STILL a child) place to question an officials call, it is the coaches responsibility if it's ANYONES. He had two T's called on him for trash talking, his coach should have had him on the bench before he even got CLOSE to the ref. Bump or no bump, flop or no flop...this kid should be suspended by his school or AT LEAST grounded by his parents!
A couple of things: In general, officials have been playing too active a role, for the better part of a decade. The show is not about them.
That said, Mayo is not nearly as innocent as some make out. Look at the video. He definitely makes shoulder to shoulder contact, with an opponent, right as the whistle goes off. And I am not entirely sure that he did not brush another official, immediately before the whistle. If that is the case, it is an automatic T And while I absolutely agree that another ref should issue the second T, the same could be applied here. If he bumped ref #2, then ref #1 - the follically challenged one - would be the guy to make the call.
All in all, it is the sense of entitlement that kills me. Why taunt? I managed to make it through scholastic and collegiate sports without ever needing to do it. Is this kid entitled to taunt lesser players? Let him go to the NBA in 2 years, and let's see how much taunting goes on when he eats a shot rejected by Garnett.
Whether the ref was pushed or flopped has NO BEARING on the 2 technicals and the WV rule that he be suspended for 2 games. A sympathetic judge overturns the suspension and he gets to play against his nationally ranked teams. He has done more (and worse) in the past. Last year he was suspended by his principal for a state semi-final game in Ohio. He returned for the title game. He was later (allegedly) involved in school issues which ultimately led to his transfer to Huntington. At some point, this kid has to held accountable for his actions. Yes he is 18 years old. However, he is experienced beyond his years in terms of athletics. Shame on the judge who allowed him to play and shame on the EDUCATORS who played him in the face of the WV rule. It's time he is accountable.
Am i the only pragmatist in the conversation? Lets stop the soap-box rants and be truthful. 1) Mayo is a trash talking, confrontational, aggresive young man. Why? Because that what it takes to be considered the #1 prep basketball player. He's been told and trained his whole life not to back down regardless of the other person's size, color or position. If you don't thik Mayo is tested everyday in ways that would baffle the couch potato sports fan, try putting a $100 million dollars on your back and watch what happens. 2) The ref is a fool. I'm sure he has sometihing against Mayo because he is insignificant, and Mayo is made into a national icon by the media. I went to a wealthy ivy league-type high school and our big games were brutal affairs. Just as intense as this game. The ref obviously lets the emotion get to him. Its not the first time, won't be the last. I do blame him because his actions could have sparked a riot and his job is to control the game. He did the exact opposite causing it to get way out of hand. 3) All the people who diss Mayo realize he is a kid. And all that talent and attention makes him more of a kid, not less. A good parent teaches his kid that they need to be citizens of community and respectful, etc. None of this is true for Mayo, he has no communnity. He is shuffled off to a new school every year it seems, and who can he trust/respect? I bet his own family members have betrayed him for personal gain by this point. 3) I pity both parties involved in this incident. Now they have a bunch of idiots judging who they are based off of a 40 second clip.
Its just a game and no one's life should change around it. By the way...how many commentaters here voted in the their last local election? . . yeah thats what i thought. All of you get a life.
Paul look there is a lot of difference from a 9-year old kid question a call and an 18-year old about to go off to college questing a call. Look i can even tell if anybody is watching both clips the first T was understandle but the 2 T was questionable at best. Mayo barely makes contact with the ref and there is no talking involved. And to all the people who said he should have walk away would u have walk away if u have just been thrown out of the game because you barley made contact with the ref.
Look would u people at least watch the video and for the person saying that mayo might have trip the ref watch the 1 video no contact with the legs. Then watch the second video where it has slow motion u can see the ref jumping to one side. It was a total flop.
And to everybody saying he's a punk u dont even know him and u didnt see the game except the two T's and the bump. I would listen to the person who was at the game and lives in the area. Would u stop hating on O.J. Mayo just cause of 2 clips. Give the kid a little time before u can start hating on him and calling a punk or thug
The ref seems like he has a personal situation where he was really turned off by the showboating and decided to abuse his authority by doing a lot of showboating himself. This guy is dangerous! One wonders if this ref had some $ or personal stake in what was happening in that game. Before seeing that tape I was excoriating Mayo. Now it seems that he was talking way too much, as players (including my faves Jordan, Bird and Barkley did) but the ref wnated to take him down a few pegs. There was no hands, no shoves, just a diving ref who hopefully (and this is relative) made a split second decision that rather than talk that he going get his own SHOWTIME. The game can survive big mouthed kids but not devious, angry refs. Not good for bball.