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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Mayberry Household Divided Over TU, ORU

GTR Sports Writer

Left: Hurricane Star Taleya Mayberry as a member of the TU women’s basketball team. Right: NBA sharpshooter Lee Mayberry as a member of the NBA Vancouver Grizzlies.

Sunday dinners for the Mayberry household can prove to be adventuresome. The routine is nearly always the same. First, there’s church. Then, the clan meets at grandmother’s house for a sumptuous midday meal. Finally, the chit chat turns toward a heated discussion over women’s college basketball recruiting.

 Should young ladies choose Oral Roberts University or the University of Tulsa? Pick your side. Lee Mayberry, the former NBA guard, is in his first season as a women’s recruiter and assistant coach at ORU. Taleya Mayberry, the eldest of Lee’s five daughters, has embarked on her maiden voyage as an assistant coach at TU. No matter which side you choose, it’s clear the city of Tulsa has returned to the Mayberrys.

 “We always seem to start bickering at dinner,’’ Taleya said of the Sunday family gatherings. “My dad asks me questions about what recruiting I’m doing and I won’t tell him. My mom (Marla) then says, ‘We won’t talk about basketball today. There will definitely be none of that.’”    

 Taleya said the hoops rivalry between father and daughter will reach its zenith on Nov. 17 when the Lady Golden Eagles play host to Tulsa in the Mayor’s Cup. However, there is still a battle awaiting them closer to home over the recruiting of fourth daughter Wyvette, slated to be a senior at Booker T. Washington this season. Third daughter Maya will be a sophomore at ORU.

 “I think about nothing but basketball and school. I want to be the quarterback of the team,’’ said Maya. “No. 1, I want to win the (Summit) league and No. 2, I want to continue a good relationship with my teammates.

 “I think it will be fun (playing for her father). He’s given me so much advice and the time I spent with him in the gym made me a better player. We still watch clips from his Arkansas games together. He’s taught me how to shoot and it’s great having a coach at home.’’

 Lee Mayberry, 48, burst upon the Tulsa scene by leading Will Rogers High School to the 1988 state championship. At Arkansas, Mayberry was named first team All-SEC in 1992 and was tabbed 23rd in the NBA draft. He spent seven years with Milwaukee and Vancouver before returning to Arkansas as a men’s assistant coach. Mayberry has finally come home and he’s ready to help his daughters make the most of it.

 “I’m proud of all of them. They’ve all won state championships,’’ he said. “All of them are good players and I can’t say which is best. They are very skilled. I would say Taleya is the quickest, Maya is the better shooter, Kaylan was good and so is Wyvette. I remember when they were younger and playing in the rec leagues. They started out not getting the ball up to the goal, just dribbling around.’’

 Kaylan is the second oldest and won a state title at BTW. She played at ORU through the 2016-17 season and is now living in Oklahoma City, engaged to former NFL and OU star Dominique Alexander. Rhyian Mayberry is the youngest at age 11 and is a fifth-grader at Carver. Her basketball future is uncertain with Taleya saying volleyball could be her sport of choice.

  No matter their direction in life, Lee’s daughters said he supported them and made sure he had time to spend with them.

 “I really think he wanted a boy. We always joked around about that,’’ Maya said. “But we used to go shopping a lot because he knew he had all girls. Why not go on a shopping trip? The time he took with us together was the highlight of the year.’’

  The Mayberry girls found another way to be close to their dad was winning games on a basketball court. They learned how to succeed through his tutelage and his patience.
 “I never pushed them to play the game,’’ Lee said. “My advice was if you play, play hard. You’re going to make mistakes and won’t play a perfect game. Just learn from them. Learn ball handling and shooting. It won’t take a day, a week, a month or a year. Sometimes you never get it right.’’

 Apparently that’s not true for Mayberry’s daughters. Taleya spread the family name all over the world after graduation from TU, playing professionally in China, Germany, Bulgaria and Iceland. She said traveling the globe was a great experience, but can’t compare to sitting around grandmother’s Sunday dinner table.

 “It feels good to be back. I found a way to come home,’’ Taleya said. “I’m really excited for him (her father’s coaching job) too. He had so much to do with it (her success), I wouldn’t have been the player I was without him. I ask him a lot of things about recruiting and he gives me tips and ways to communicate with players. He’s well known and he knows a lot of players. He’s just a great assistant coach.’’

 Taleya said having played under TU head coach Matilda Mossman has given her instant credibility with players.

 “The girls look up to me and know what I did as a player. I can relate to them,’’ she said. “I want to help develop young women overall, from basketball to having careers. Seeing them grow from freshmen is what it’s all about. I want them to know when you give your all, it goes a long way.’’       

 Perhaps Maya is the next Mayberry to follow the leader into coaching. Until that day comes, she’s still beaming over averaging 11.6 points and shooting 47 percent from the three-point line as a freshman. The 5-foot-8 guard is ready for a break out season in 2018-19.

 “My dad taught me everything I know about being a point guard and ball handler,’’ said Maya, named to the Summit League’s All-Freshman team. “He taught me my mid-range shot and to be good under pressure. I’m following in his footsteps. He taught me patience and my ability to score. He taught me to not let my opponent rush me, just slow down and score.’’   

 Away from the court Lee and Maya like to watch football and root for the Oklahoma Sooners, but now it’s time to work on basketball and uphold the family tradition of winning. Virtually everyone in the Mayberry family has suited up at one time or another to play hoops. Everyone except Marla, Lee’s wife.

 “She was a cheerleader (in school). She always supported the kids,’’ he said. “She didn’t play basketball, but she gave up her weekends. She was the real MVP.’’
 Especially true as a referee during Sunday dinners at grandma’s house.

Updated 11-14-2018

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