Had Todd Mayo been able to play for Marquette at the start of the season, the sophomore shooting guard likely would have assumed a far greater role as a result of the graduation of Darius Johnson-Odom.
Instead, Mayo will be academically ineligible until at least the end of the fall semester, leaving the Golden Eagles short-handed in the backcourt.
Marquette sent out a release Monday night that said Mayo will not be able to practice or play with the team because he has been unable to meet the NCAA's minimum academic standards. Mayo, the younger brother of former USC and current Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo, likely will be able to apply for reinstatement in time for conference play at the start of the spring semester.
"Todd understands success in our program requires a sincere commitment to excellence on and off the floor," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said in the release. "I'm extremely disappointed he's put himself in this position, but he has the full support of our program as he works to improve."
Mayo's inability to remain academically eligible is merely the latest incident in what has been a turbulent two seasons at Marquette thus far.
One of college basketball's better scorers off the bench last season during nonleague play, Mayo all but disappeared once the conference season began. Worse yet, he was suspended twice, once for a game against West Virginia last season and then again in the summer for violating team rules.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, players and coaches complained privately that Mayo was aloof and not willing to be a part of the team prior to his suspension during the summer. Williams sent Mayo home to Huntington, W.Va., in part to decide whether he wanted to be part of the Marquette program or not.
Perhaps Marquette's team chemistry will improve without Mayo, but the Golden Eagles will miss his explosiveness.
Had he been eligible, Mayo likely would have received 20-25 minutes per game at wing behind starters Vander Blue and Arizona State transfer Trent Lockett. He averaged 7.9 points as a freshman and scored in double figures 12 times before mid-January, production that will have to be replaced by unproven underclassmen like Jamal Ferguson or Derrick Wilson.
As for Mayo, this appears to be a crossroads for him.
Perhaps he'll rededicate himself to academics, reestablish his relationships with his teammates and coaches and reemerge as a key part of Marquette's future. Or perhaps he'll decide the school is not for him and that he's played his last game in Milwaukee.