Zeke Mayo: Destined for Jump to Jackrabbit Stardom

The South Dakota State Men’s Basketball team reached new heights during the 2021-22 season, a level that not even an actual Jackrabbit could jump to. 30 wins for the first time in program history, a school record 21 straight victories from before Christmas through the middle of March, and most impressive- becoming the first team in Summit League history to go through conference play unblemished to the tune of an 18-0 record and a conference tournament title to follow.

Summit League Player of the Year and recent Creighton transfer Baylor Scheierman was the star of the team, and leading scorer Douglas Wilson was a close second. Neither player will be back in Brookings, SD for 2022-23; but the program is still in great hands with an up and coming star ready to breakout. His name is Zeke Mayo, a 6’3” guard from Lawrence, KS and a member of the 2022 Summit League All-Newcomer team. He’s had stardom written all over his name since his high school days, when he was a 2x Kansas All-State selection and a co-recipient of the 2021 DiRenna Award, which is given to the top high school basketball player in the Kansas City area. To show just how prestigious of an honor that is- Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun, key pieces to the Kansas Jayhawks National Championship run, both won the same award in the recent past.

Coming out of Lawrence High School, which is located less than a mile down the road from the Kansas Jayhawks’ historic Allen Fieldhouse, Mayo was a 3 star recruit with offers from South Dakota State, Tulsa, UNC Greensboro, Northern Colorado and many other mid-major programs. At one point he even received interest from the Jayhawks, but never got the offer from his hometown team; something the reigning National Champions could soon regret when he ascends to become one of the best shooters in the nation.

Last season as a freshman with the Jackrabbits, Mayo averaged 9.6 PPG on highly efficient shooting splits of 46.7% from the field, 41.5% from 3-point range, and 93.3% from the line. For reference of just how elite those splits were- if he had made 8 more field goal attempts over the entire 35 game season, he would have finished in the 50-40-90 club; something only 12 college basketball players have done in the last 30 years, and only 1 of the 12 did it during their freshman season. His 93.3% free throw percentage would have been the 2nd best in the country last season if he had attempted enough shots to qualify for the National leaders. 

Mayo was inserted into the starting lineup on December 22nd, and South Dakota State went 20-1 with him as a starter, with the only loss coming to Providence in the NCAA Tournament. His senior year in high school he led the Lawrence Lions to a 21-2 record, proving that he can be a key contributor to a winning program at both levels. He also shows up when the lights are brightest. In just his second collegiate game, he scored 12 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and had zero turnovers on the road against Alabama, the 14th ranked team in the country at the time. He then added 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in a significant win over Pac-12 opponent Washington State. In the Jackrabbits season finale, he recorded 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals vs the Friars, a team that advanced to the Sweet 16. Mayo finished the season with the second most minutes played on the team, and will now be the team’s leading returning scorer headed into 2022-23. In the coming years, he has the potential to establish himself as a Summit League Player of the Year candidate and likely become a household name across the mid-major college basketball world, so do yourself a favor and jump on the Zeke Mayo bandwagon now.

Author

  • Shea Irish

    Shea is a life-long college basketball fanatic. He has always been passionate about following mid-majors hoops. He's 25 years old and currently resides in Upstate New York. Co-host of the Mental Dimes NCAAM Podcast.

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