Arizona basketball: Mayes lets his game do talking

Laid-back guard stepped up in crunch time vs. Memphis
2011-03-20T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:16:23Z Arizona basketball: Mayes lets his game do talkingPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 20, 2011 12:00 am  • 

TULSA, Okla. - Solomon Hill has known Jordin Mayes for four years.

"Quietest player I've ever played with," Hill said.

MoMo Jones tries to get a rise out of the mellow freshman in practice, poking at him, physically and verbally.

"He may throw an elbow or two," Jones said, "but he never really says anything."

Even soft-spoken Kyle Fogg calls him "definitely one of the most quiet people I've met."

The best way to describe Mayes, the Arizona Wildcats' backup point guard, is certainly not with words that come from his mouth.

Polite, Mayes answers questions honestly. But he's just not much of a talker.

"Jordin's very quiet, no question," UA coach Sean Miller said Saturday, one day before the Wildcats' game against Texas for a berth in the Sweet 16. "He's also really been a great player for us as a freshman."

Without him, the Wildcats probably wouldn't have defeated the Memphis Tigers in Thursday's NCAA tournament second-round game.

With 13:28 left in the game and trailing by three, the Wildcats - for the first time - played Mayes and fellow point guard MoMo Jones together in a game. With shooting guard Fogg and wing Kevin Parrom in foul trouble, Mayes filled in with eight points. He made both field-goal attempts, his only three-point try and all three free-throw attempts, including two in the last minute.

Entering the game, he had made only 11 free throws all season, out of 25 attempts. His free throw percentage was almost the same as his three-point percentage.

Mayes - nicknamed "Box Body" for his build - said he was losing focus at the line, and needed to focus on pushing his heels high in the air as he released the ball.

"I was rushing it a little bit," he said. "I just wanted to take my time. We have 10 seconds to shoot it."

Mayes' development has saved the Wildcats twice in a week. His scoring spurt against USC helped seal the victory in the Pac-10 semifinals.

His future at the UA is probably as a combo guard - Mayes said Miller already told him to plan on playing point guard and shooting guard next season - but the freshman said he thinks like a ball-handler.

"I just let my game do the talking for me," he said.

The Los Angeles Westchester High School grad's quiet reputation is for reasons beyond his mouth. He takes long strides when he runs and has very few extraneous hand or arm movements.

In baseball, such physical efficiency is known as having "quiet" hands

"A laid-back player," is how Mayes describes it. "They don't think I've got the aggressiveness to keep attacking, keep attacking.

"I've been playing like that my whole life. That's just me. That's who I am."

Jones said any player's personality naturally shines through in his style of game. Also, he said, Mayes can afford to be subtle.

"He can come on the floor and be him because I'm me," Jones said. "He doesn't have to take on that responsibility of getting everything going."

Hill smiled when told of the comment.

"That's just who they are," he said. "Sometimes MoMo just screams for no reason.

"And then you've got Jordin at the point guard position, he's kinda quiet. I think that's just setting him back a little bit.

"At the point-guard position, you don't see many guys being quiet."

Mayes is playing his best basketball of the year. He totaled 20 points in the last three games, his best such stretch since before Christmas. He made 5 of 6 three-point attempts and has a 5-2 assist-turnover ratio.

Given the past week, Mayes figures to be heard from today against Texas.

Even if he's not the one talking.

"He's a mellow dude," Jones said. "But he gets the job done."

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Utah 6 1 0 0.857 16 3 0 0.842
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Washington 3 4 0 0.429 14 5 0 0.737
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
1/30 8:00 pm
Stanford at
Washington State
1/31 6:00 pm
Colorado at
1/31 8:30 pm
Utah at
2/1 12:30 pm
California at
2/1 1:00 pm
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