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Mayo’s mother gets up-close view

Times Staff Writer

O.J. Mayo’s mother said her son’s experience at USC has been everything he had envisioned, particularly the balmy weather.

“He loves it. He can’t stand the cold,” Alisha Mayo said Saturday after watching practice inside the Galen Center for a second consecutive day.

Accompanied by two aunts, Alisha Mayo traveled from Huntington, W.Va., to Southern California to watch her son play sixth-ranked UCLA tonight. She already saw him play college games against Memphis in New York and South Carolina and the Citadel on the road.

Asked about the performance of her son, a freshman who ranks third in the Pacific 10 Conference by averaging 20.2 points, Alisha Mayo said, “Good. It’s a whole different level than high school. When he first started playing, I was like, ‘What’s going on with your points?’

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“But as I watched the games and saw how powerful the Pac-10 and all those teams were, it’s a whole different level than high school. So I said, ‘Just go out and do your best.’ ”

Alisha Mayo says she talks to her son at least every other day and text messages him daily.

She said she would support her son’s decision regardless of whether he decided to opt for the NBA draft or return for his sophomore season at USC.

“He’s made his decisions this far,” she said. “I’ll just go with him. I might not like it, but I’ll go with him. I support his decision either way.”

Alisha Mayo said her son spent “his whole senior year” of high school convincing her he wanted to go to USC because it was so far from West Virginia.

“He goes, ‘You told me I could go to any college in the country if I worked hard,’ ” she said.

Her response? “Well, O.J., California wasn’t a factor.”

Alisha Mayo said she was rooting for a college on the East Coast or at least one in her time zone but was overruled.

“USC, the weather probably won his heart more so than anything -- the weather and the women,” she said.

Former USC standout Nick Young will be honored at halftime tonight. Young finished his three-year career as the Trojans’ sixth all-time leading scorer before the Washington Wizards selected him in the first round of the NBA draft.

Young made an appearance in the USC locker room Friday and reminisced with Coach Tim Floyd in his own special way. “He kind of yelled at me a little bit, so it brought back old memories,” Young said.

ben.bolch@latimes.com


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