Todd Mayo must find consistency in senior season

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette's senior shooting guard will be vital to its success in 2014-15.

In the fall of 2011, Todd Mayo arrived on Marquette's campus as O.J.'s little brother.

Three years later, his inconsistency keeps him firmly in the dark of his NBA half-brother's shadow. With suspensions, poor grades and streaky play marring his career to this point, Mayo has one final chance to live up to the hype in 2014-15.

In his freshman season, Mayo played second fiddle to one of the nation's best shooting guards in Darius Johnson-Odom. Still, the Huntington, West Virginia native distinguished himself with eight double-digit scoring performances in non-conference play. His finest performance came against Northern Colorado on December 17, 2011, when he scored 22 points and added five rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.

He had a decent start to conference play, but saw his scoring drop off massively at the end of January. He scored 10 points against Providence on January 21, but scored that same amount in his next four games combined. On senior day against No. 11 Georgetown, Mayo was a non-factor, playing 17 minutes without attempting a shot.

Mayo surged back in the NCAA Tournament, rediscovering his shot and averaging nearly 10 points per game in Marquette's Sweet 16 run. That stretch showed Mayo's promise and gave Marquette fans hope for his sophomore season.

However, Mayo's second year in Milwaukee was an unmitigated disaster. Just days before the season opener, Marquette announced Mayo would be ineligible for the remainder of the semester due to grades. While Mayo probably was never going to start in front of Vander Blue, Marquette lost a shooter and dynamic bench player when he was suspended.

After returning on December 19 against LSU, Mayo struggled to find his scoring touch and regular minutes. He scored in double-digits just four times all season and completely vanished in March. Senior Day against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish was the last time Mayo made multiple field goals in a game that season, and he was nowhere to be found in the NCAA Tourney. Mayo played just 30 minutes in Marquette's four games, did not score and, most tellingly, did not play at all in Marquette's biggest win, a thrashing of a heavily-favored Miami squad.

With one mostly good and one completely bad season in the books, no one knew quite what to expect from Mayo in 2013-14. What resulted was a season of ups and downs that only promoted Mayo's reputation as an inconsistent player.

His season had its peaks. He opened the year with a 20-point performance against a solid Southern side and had a handful of quality games in conference play. He closed the season with three 20-point games, including a career-high 26 against Providence. He also became a go-to clutch scorer for Marquette, notably nailing a buzzer beater to help steal a win against Georgetown on the road.

Unfortunately for Mayo, issues that nagged him early in his career hampered what could have been his breakout year. He picked up an ankle injury early on that held him out of one game, and he broke his nose and had to wear a mask for a few games. His sketchy off-the-court conduct caught up with him again, and he was suspended on the eve of Marquette's rivalry game with Wisconsin. He struggled for consistent minutes for the first part of the season, and Buzz Williams preferred to start Jake Thomas over him at shooting guard.

SB Nation Marquette blog Anonymous Eagle rated Mayo's season a six out of 10, and that seems about right. He showed flashes of brilliance and downright unstoppable scoring, but ended up averaging just 11 points per game on a team that didn't make the NIT.

In 2014-15, Mayo should start at shooting guard and be Marquette's leading scorer. The Golden Eagles simply don't have anyone else on the roster who can flip a switch and go get buckets like he can. But as it has been with Mayo for his entire career, whether or not he flips that switch and scores consistently remains a question mark.

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