Matthew Mayer, 6-9, 225, F, Jr. (Austin, Texas)
Committed: June 13, 2017
How does a kid from Austin get to Waco?
“I had a rough high school career,” the former Westlake product told me. “I wanted to get out of Austin, but I wanted to stay in Texas.”
Mayer said it was down to Texas A&M and Baylor, and with both his brother and mother being A&M alums, it didn’t look promising for Baylor early.
“A&M started to give up on me a little bit,” he added. “They used to call every day, then they started backing off a little bit. It didn’t seem like they wanted me. Then again, I know they didn’t want me.”
Mayer said it was the combination of the Christian environment at Baylor, as well as the coaching staff and the players in the program that made it a fairly easy decision. Mayer wound up as a fringe Top 100 player by both ESPN and 247Sports.
Mayer’s biggest issue has been his maturity. Teammate Mark Vital praised his length, athleticism and skill, but Mayer hasn’t taken the game quite as seriously as necessary until this season.
“Matt has the most NBA potential out of all of us,” Vital added. “He’s athletic, can shoot it, can dribble. He rebounds now and can lock guys up.”
Mayer’s first two seasons in Waco were nearly identical. He averaged a shade under 12 minutes and just about five points per contest coming off the bench in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Many would have transferred in search of starter minutes, especially with the majority of the team returning, but Mayer sat tight.
“My ultimate goal is to go to the NBA and my mindset was, ‘If I’m not good enough to play at Baylor, I’m not ready for the NBA, so what’s the point of going somewhere else?’” Mayer revealed.
“I didn’t want to uproot my life, I didn’t want to have the victim mentality,” he added. “I had to focus and get better.”
Mayer put on some weight this past offseason and continues to mature. It’s paid off, as his role has expanded, averaging 8.3 points per game while shooting 46 percent from 3.
“This season has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Mayer said. “It’s been a great teaching point and [shown me] how to win at life. Watching how guys like Jared, Davion, Mark and MaCio have dealt with the pressure has taught me a lot. They have so much stress on them, but they just go to work. I want to be in the NBA, and watching them has taught me how to approach my career and the future — just to see how mature they are.”