Messalonskee High School of Oakland senior Nick Mayo capped off one of the faster-paced college recruiting efforts for a Maine high school basketball player in recent years by signing a National Letter of Intent to play beginning next fall at Eastern Kentucky University, Colonels head coach Jeff Neubauer announced Thursday.

Mayo, a 6-foot-8 forward from Belgrade, was one of two players signed by Division I Eastern Kentucky University, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. Also accepting a basketball scholarship from the Richmond, Kentucky, school was Paul Jones, a 6-foot-7 forward from Lake Worth, Florida, and Palm Beach State College.

Mayo averaged 15.1 points and 13.6 rebounds per game at Messalonskee last winter under coach Pete McLaughlin and helped lead the Eagles to the Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinals. He also led the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A ranks in blocked shots at 2.5 per game and converted 68 of 84 free-throw attempts, or 81 percent.

Mayo then blossomed during the AAU season while playing for the Maine Athletic Club 17-and-under team coached by Carl Parker.

During the summer months, Mayo starred in the AAU Division I 11th-Grade National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was noticed by the Eastern Kentucky University coaching staff and ultimately received one of nine Division I scholarship offers he ultimately considered.

Mayo made his official visit to Eastern Kentucky University the weekend of Sept. 13 and watched the Colonels’ 2013-14 men’s basketball players receive their Ohio Valley Conference championship rings at halftime of the school’s football game.

“Nick is an outstanding young man with a very bright future,” Neubauer said. “He is a skilled bigger player who excels as a shooter and passer.”

Mayo also shoots well from 3-point land. Eastern Kentucky University has led the Ohio Valley Conference in 3-pointers made five of the last six years, and it was fifth in the country last season.

Eastern Kentucky University finished 24-10 last winter, winning the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship before falling to the University of Kansas 80-69 in the second round of the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Two other Maine schoolboy basketball players, Houlton senior Kyle Bouchard and former Hampden Academy star Zach Gilpin, a postgraduate at Bridgton Academy, are expected to each sign a National Letter of Intent soon accepting scholarship offers from Division II Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...