Sources: Mayo dumps Duffy

LOS ANGELES – O.J. Mayo has fired Bill Duffy and Associates and will select a new agent before leaving for the Orlando pre-draft camp next week, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Calvin Andrews, an agent for BDA, had been in Chicago trying frantically to hold onto his client. Since the agency was the center of an ESPN investigation into possible improprieties in the recruitment of the USC freshman star, a fierce tussle has played out behind the scenes for control of the 20-year-old prodigy’s future.

As first reported by Yahoo! Sports, Mayo’s mother, Alisha, and her son’s former Ohio high school coach and one-time legal guardian, Dwayne Barnes, wanted O.J. to fire BDA, sources said. The mother and coach are encouraging Mayo to hire New York-based agent Andy Miller, whose clients include Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Detroit’s Chauncey Billups.

“I’m unaware of any connection I have with the family, but I’m flattered that they would throw my name into the mix feeling that I could play some sort of constructive role to rectify a very chaotic situation at present,” Miller said by phone Thursday.

After Mayo files paperwork saying he has fired BDA, NBA Players Association rules prohibit him from signing with another agent for 15 days.

The wildcard in the scenario is Leon Rose, who represents Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. Mayo is aware of the endorsement possibilities, especially the Nike connections, that come with James’ own marketing arm, LRMR, a source said.

Mayo met with William Wesley, the famed basketball dealmaker known as World Wide Wes, who has a close relationship with Rose. The two spoke Wednesday at the Attack Athletics Training Center in Chicago, where the 6-foot-5 guard is preparing for the June NBA draft.

“We did not talk about Leon or anything like that,” Wesley told Yahoo! Sports Thursday. “I wouldn’t care who he went with. Our relationship is just friendly. As far as I know, he’s under contract with BDA.”

Mayo was believed to be personally partial to Andrews, but mostly preferred that this drama end so he can close this chaotic chapter and return his focus to basketball. Satisfying the demands of his mother and former coach may be the quickest way to do that. Andrews didn’t return messages to Yahoo! Sports.

In an ESPN report on May 11, scorned Mayo confidant Louis Johnson alleged that BDA funneled more than $200,000 to Los Angeles-based event promoter and agent runner Rodney Guillory with hopes of winning favor with Mayo. Johnson estimated that Mayo received approximately $30,000.

Both Mayo and BDA denied the charges. USC, which could face major sanctions if the allegation is proven, has refused comment. However, university sources told the Los Angeles Daily News on Wednesday that the school plans to tell NCAA that it had no knowledge of any wrongdoing despite the coaching staff having a close relationship with Guillory.

The allegations surrounding Mayo’s recruitment and signing with BDA has pulled the curtain back on how sports agents and runners have an active hand in recruiting clients when they are still in high school and often work in concert with college coaches to place stars on campus for one or two years.

Mayo has been a national star back to his junior high school days in Huntington, W.Va. He played under and lived with Barnes at North College Hill High School, just outside Cincinnati, before returning to West Virginia for his senior year.

Guillory played a role in bringing Mayo to Los Angeles, working as the conduit between the player and Trojan coach Tim Floyd. Mayo led USC to the NCAA tournament in his one-and-done season on campus.


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Updated Thursday, May 22, 2008