SHELBY Shelby High boys basketball player Eric Mayo is determined to reach his goals in the upcoming 2A basketball season, which tips off next week.
And Mayo has a lot of goals.
He wants to help Shelby reach its second state championship game since 1963.
He wants to show college recruiters he can play on the wing at the next level – and, most of all, he wants to fulfill his promise to his mother to work as hard on his academics as his jump shot.
Mayo averaged 18 points last season and led Shelby to its third straight N.C. Western Regional. The Golden Lions reached the state finals in 2006, Mayo's freshman year, but lost in the semifinals the past two seasons.
Mayo, a 6-foot-5 senior, has played in the post for much of his career but spent the summer working hard in the weight room and on the gym floor to change perceptions about his game.
“I got an inch taller and a lot bigger,” Mayo said.
“I was 175 pounds last year and now I'm 192. I just started lifting weights hard in the summer. I wanted to get bigger.”
Mayo also took 500 jump shots a day to increase his range. At the recent Star 50 camp at Charlotte's Hickory Grove Christian – a gathering of 50 of the area's top players – Mayo was an easy pick as most valuable camper after sinking four straight 3-point shots in a final scrimmage game.
“I'm trying to reinvent myself,” he said. “I've got to work hard in the books and make my Mom proud. I had a couple issues last year with my attitude and had to sit out a game. I told myself to forget about attitudes, work hard and just play.”
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