iki Mayben was always a freakishly good athlete. But in a generation where third graders are getting cut from church teams and fifth grade coaches are getting ejected from games, the Troy, N.Y. native didn't get into a competitive game until he was 12.
But whether it was by operating the 17-and-under AAU team's offense as a 15-year old or making the varsity basketball team as an eighth grader, Mayben has always found his game to be ahead of his time.
|Scouting Report: Tiki Mayben|
A quick penetrating point guard, he passes very well on the move and added some strength over his high school years. Near the end of his career, he looked to be a little more of a scoring threat. The one knock on him is that he tends to get a little too fancy with some of his passes. Big-time prospect will certainly give the Minutemen a major boost at the point next season, a position which is posing some difficulty this season.
It's not everyday that a kid entering his sophomore year in high school commits to a major Big East program. Mayben, who originally committed to Syracuse, was pursued by the program at 15 and practiced with the 2002-03 Orange team at a time when most players his age were still attending skill development camps.
Mayben, who played his AAU ball with the Albany City Rocks, will be a key addition for the UMass Minuteman during the 2006-2007 season. Mayben was the N.Y.S. Section II MVP as a freshman and named to The Record's All-area team that same year, and is currently attending UMass but sitting this season out as an academic non-qualifier.
He is not alone. Former West Virginia center Luke Bonner (young brother of Toronto Raptors forward and former Florida stud Matt), Etienne Brower (Boston University), Gary Forbes (Virginia), are all redshirting this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Throw in former Pitt forward Dante Milligan, who became eligible on December 23, and you have a core of high profile players that could certainly put the Minutemen on the map next season.
Mayben is a full package. Offensively, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard is a pure shooter, has great court vision, and penetrates and attacks the basket as good as anyone. He's also accustomed to playing suffocating, lock-down defense.
Originally set to go to prep after failing to meet Syracuse admissions requirements, Tiki has found a home away from home on the campus at Amherst, Mass.
"Now I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. I'm just trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get both academically and athletically," said Mayben, who looked strong controlling the tempo and attacking the rim during the Jordan Classic last April.