Power forward Nick Mayo will begin his pro career with the Chiba Jets Funabashi, the two-time B. League championship runner-up squad announced on Friday.
Mayo starred for Eastern Kentucky University over the past four years. He is the program’s all-time leading scorer (2,316 career points).
“I am very excited to announce that I will be starting my professional basketball career over in Japan with the Chiba Jets,” Mayo said in a statement. “I am grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to get to work and to do my best to help bring a championship to Chiba.”
Mayo also competed for the Miami Heat during the recent NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, where he contributed 9.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in four games. He poured in 20 points against the China national team in one of those games.
“He’s a natural scorer, scored a lot of points in college,” Eric Glass, the Heat’s Summer League coach, said of Mayo, according to the Miami Herald. “His reliability on defense has been something impressive. He’s done a solid job there. I’ve been impressed.”
According to a centralmaine.com article, Mayo worked out for 10 NBA teams in the spring in the weeks between the Portsmouth Invitational, a senior-only showcase that he attended, and the NBA Draft.
As a college senior, Mayo averaged 23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Among his major performances of the 2018-19 season, the 206-cm Mayo scored a career-best 40 points and hauled in 12 rebounds in a road game against Chattanooga on Nov. 10. Mayo’s sensational game was punctuated by 27 points in the last 10 minutes. Days later, he delivered a 23-point, nine-rebound outing against Tennessee, which was ranked No. 6 at the time.
On Jan. 5, Mayo put 36 points on the board and corralled nine boards. He had a 32-point, 11-rebound effort against Morehead State on Feb. 14.
A native of Oakland, Maine, he became the second player in Ohio Valley Conference history to earn first-team all-conference accolades four times. Ralph Crosthwaite of Western Kentucky accomplished the feat in the 1950s.
Coming off a 52-8 season, the Jets already feature the frontcourt talents of Josh Duncan, Gavin Edwards, Michael Parker and Ryumo Ono.