I talked with Memphis guard O.J. Mayo prior to the Celtics-Grizzlies, Super Bowl Sunday game at the Garden. Here is what the 4th year man out of USC, who is averaging 12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2 assists per game had to say.
1. You started every game your first two years in the league, last year and this year you’ve been coming off the bench. Are you more comfortable with one role, which do you see yourself doing in the future?
Mayo: Whatever the team needs. Just a ball player, gonna give 110% whether I start or come off the bench.
2. You were a point guard in high school and college, do you think you could be a point guard for a full season in the NBA?
Mayo: Yeah, yeah, one day. It’s all about being a complete guard. People put so much emphasis on if you are a 1 or a 2. Thing is if you are a complete guard you can help a lot of teams, and right now being a complete guard is helping the Memphis Grizzlies.
3. You are a restricted free agent after this year, could you see yourself playing in a place like Boston?
Mayo: Yeah sure. If there is an NBA team I’d be happy to play there. But right now my main goal is to play for Memphis and hopefully help get them their first NBA Championship.
4. Is there any stigma about Boston? In the past not all athletes have wanted to play in Boston, it took KG some convincing. Does that still exist?
Mayo: I’ve never heard of that. It’s always been one of the top organizations in basketball. Ever since you were a little boy start playing basketball you always heard about the Boston Celtics and Larry Bird, all the great players, it’s always been a great organization.
5. You guys play well when Rudy Gay is healthy and Zach Randolph is out and vice versa, but when both are playing you are only a couple games over .500. Any idea as to why that is?
Mayo: I think our team focus level rises when one of the other is out, because we know how big they mean to the team and when they are out we feel like we may get doubted as to how great we can be, and we try to prove the naysayers wrong. But when they both get healthy I think we will be even a tougher team to deal with.
What are the challenges for someone like you who will likely have to guard Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo in the same game, guys who play completely different?
Mayo: You know you just got to know your scouting report, and trust your scouting report. Obviously Rondo is a great point guard, great in transition and even better in the half court as far as making other players around him better. And Ray Allen is a great shooter, never stops moving, and comes well off screens. You just got to know the scouting report and make them play the other end honest as well.
Who you got in the Super Bowl today?
Mayo: I got the Giants.
You going to be able to watch it?
Mayo: Yeah we will be back in town.
Rich Keefe is the Celtics Reporter for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. You can follow him on twitter: @Keefe21