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Published: Thursday, 3/23/2006

Ohio s top basketball player missing state semifinal game


COLUMBUS O.J. Mayo, Ohio s top high school basketball player, was banned from Cincinnati North College Hill s state semifinal game today by the school s principal.

Principal Kelly Hughes would not say why he was not playing. She said no decision has been made about whether he would play in the championship on Saturday if the team wins tonight.

I would not term it a suspension, she said. He will not be traveling with the team and will not be playing in the game tonight. The decision was made by me.

Mayo, a 6-foot-5 junior, is one of the most acclaimed high school players in the nation. He won The Associated Press Mr. Basketball in Ohio award on Wednesday for the second straight year.

Mayo, who averaged 28.8 points a game this season, is the featured performer for the defending state champions. The Trojans (24-1), winners of the AP regular-season poll the last three years, meet Archbold in the Division III semifinals tonight at Ohio State s Value City Arena.

He shares the spotlight on his team, ranked among the top five in the country by several publications, with 6-6 junior Bill Walker, also a first-team all-state selection by The Associated Press.

Just last month, more than 16,000 bought tickets to watch the Trojans play Oak Hill (Va.) Academy in Cincinnati s U.S. Bank Arena.

Messages seeking comment were left with coach Jamie Mahaffey and athletic director Joe Nickel.

Dan Ross, commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, said he was not aware that Mayo would miss the game.

I ve been with all of our commissioners one time or another this morning, and nothing was said about this, Ross said at the state tournament.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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