Messalonskee High School of Oakland graduate Nick Mayo did not have to wait long after last week’s NBA Las Vegas Summer League concluded to determine his professional basketball future.
The 6-foot-9-inch, 250-pound power forward, a four-year All-Ohio Valley Conference choice from Eastern Kentucky University, is headed for Japan.
Mayo has signed a contract to play beginning this fall with the Chiba Jets Funabashi in the first division of the country’s professional B.League. That team is based in Funabashi, a city of approximately 620,000 residents.
The Jets were one of the top teams in Japan last season, finishing first in the B1 regular-season standings with a 52-8 record and then advancing to the championship game of the postseason tournament before dropping a 71-67 decision to Alvark Tokyo.
The B1 season starts in late September.
Mayo averaged 9.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game while shooting 63 percent from the field in four games for the Miami Heat’s entry in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League, and he also played in three games for the Heat a week earlier during another NBA summer tournament in Sacramento, California.
That came after a stellar four-year career at Eastern Kentucky, where Mayo set the school’s career scoring record with 2,316 points.
He also grabbed 833 rebounds during his career at Eastern Kentucky and had 176 blocked shots while shooting 51.4 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Mayo ranked 10th among NCAA Division I scorers last winter with 23.7 points per game, He also led the OVC in free-throw percentage (.864), tied for second with 1.8 blocked shots per game and ranked fourth with 8.7 rebounds per game.
Mayo became only the second player in the OVC’s 71-year history to earn first-team all-conference status in each of his four years at Eastern Kentucky. Western Kentucky’s Ralph Crosthwaite (1954-59) is the other four-time All-OVC honoree.
The son of Scott and Jenn Mayo subsequently was invited to the Portsmouth (Virginia) Invitational Tournament as well as numerous other workouts in advance of June’s NBA draft.
Before playing Division I college basketball, Mayo was the 2015 Gatorade Maine Player of the Year as a senior at Messalonskee High School, where he averaged 24.4 points per game as a senior and also was named to the Bangor Daily News All-Maine first team.
Mayo is one of two former Maine high school stars set to play men’s pro basketball in Japan this coming season.
Nik Caner-Medley, a former standout at Deering High School of Portland and the University of Maryland, recently signed a two-year contract to play for the Cyberdyne Ibaraki Robots of the B.League’s second division.
This will mark Caner-Medley’s 14th season of professional basketball.