OHSAA Doesn’t Need Another “LeBron” Gate From North College Hill’s Mayo and Walker

By Gregory Moore
Updated: July 11, 2006

SAN ANTONIO — There are reports floating out on various newswire services that the next Ohio high school basketball phenom, O.J. Mayo, may be headed down a slippery slope because of his talent on the basketball court and his ‘upbringing’ or lack there of by a parent or guardian.

Meanwhile his backcourt teammate at North College Hills high school, Bill Walker, may have seemed to exhausted his eligibility to play at the school or any school in Ohio. The premise of many in the Queen City is that Mayo is a ‘godsend’, a prodigy and one who should be given special treatment and privileges yet they are forgetting an embarrassing situation about four years ago at an Akron, Ohio high school where another Ohio phenom became a household name in the midst of some scrupulous.

Anyone remember “LeBron” gate? I’m sure the Ohio High School Athletic Association does.

As talented as mayo and Walker are, what is even more troubling is that there are individuals out there who are more about using these young men’s talents for their own gain.

Guys like Mayo and Walker always have snakes, leeches and hang boys waiting for them at every turn but what may be dampening them now is their off the court actions. For Walker it’s his eligibility and for Mayo it is going to come down to who is actually raising the young man.

What is probably going to be astounding is that many will again think that this is just another column attacking these young men and their decision making as to what school they should attend after high school.

Granted that while it may be quite the news story to see if the dynamic duo will play for the same school at the collegiate level, there is a more pressing matter and that is the surroundings that these two young men are currently in or formerly were a part of.

Whether many want to believe it or not, the eligibility of a high school player is very important; especially to the school and the player. According to OHSAA reports, Walker had used up his eligibility and that ended last year.

Walker has been on record saying that playing basketball this season is not the most important thing in his life right now but that graduating from high school is. That’s good to know because the education aspect of his life is more important than bouncing a ball.

As for Mayo, there are reports that he may be thinking of going to USC rather than to Kansas State and that neither his mother, who is living in West Virginia, nor supposed ‘guardian’ Dwaine Barnes AND that mayo is supposedly trusting Rodney Guillory for guidance.

Just so that you can get a handle on the seriousness of this situation, Guillory has been linked to stories of being a runner for an agent at one time and caused the suspension of two players by the NCAA. As many can attest, Guillory has a checkered past and is someone Mayo needs to avoid.

And thus you can see the quandary that the OSHAA may find itself in. Of the two players, Mayo is the media star and the one who can be the most at risk if the wrong people get to him. Am I pointing a finger in the direction of Guillory?

Sure because Guillory knows that he needs to talk to Mayo’s guardians. But I am also looking at Barnes and Mayo’s mother as well because he is being ‘forced’ to make adult decisions in a big city without guidance.

The last time the circus came to OSHAA, LeBron James was the star attraction. OSHAA doesn’t need this hassle and Mayo needs to be protected. If Barnes and/or his mother won’t do the job, maybe North College Hills should step in for him.

While Walker’s case may seem a small tragedy on playing for a school, the real tragedy could be the fact that if an adult who has Mayo’s best interest doesn’t step forward and guide him during this poignant time in his life, there could be a tragedy of mass proportions.