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Tuesday, January 30th 2007

O.J. Mayo Was Set Up

…as much as it is easy (and fun…don’t forget fun) to make fun of the state of West Virginia, I’ll refrain from passing undue judgment on the referee in the following video.

In case you don’t know, O.J. Mayo is perhaps the nation’s most highly touted high school basketball player. Stunningly, he has committed to the University of Southern California. We’re talking, perhaps Top 10 team in just a year. It goes without saying O.J. will only play for one year before scooting for the NBA. Despite that, Mayo had USC fans (myself included) excited about basketball.

In anycase, the kid is a true talent and from all scouting and words written unselfish with the ball and just a general team player. In the media he has been known to have somewhat of a mouth, but as far as I know he’s never been in trouble with the law or authority and he certainly doesn’t have a selfish attitude on the basketball court.

O.J. made national headlines when he got ejected from a game and appeared to knock over a referee.

But forget all that. Try to watch this video without knowing anything about Mayo except that the team he is playing is his high school’s archrival.

Those Are Sketchy Calls

I wasn’t there. I’m not a ref. But we need to realize that this is West Virginia high school basketball. We’re not talking NBA ref skills (or scruples) here. Indeed, this is what referee Mike Lazo had to do to become a ref.

I have two points. While it certainly doesn’t look like Mayo was taunting the opposition before the first technical, we obviously cannot know that for sure from the video. What I will call ridiculous though is that the ref with the best view and closest to the alleged taunting wasn’t even the one who called the technical.

And it is a giant mystery (besides it being a flopping act as bad as Manu or him tripping over his own feet), how Mike Lazo managed to fall down.

I’m convinced from this video this was a set up. I wouldn’t even fault Mayo for bad choices. Seriously, to fault him for, say, not staying far enough away from the ref? I’m as mild mannered as they come and there’s nothing there I could’ve chastised myself for when I played HS basketball.

I can also dunk just like that.

[True Hoops on the setup]
[FoxSports incident story]

H/T Trojanwire