When you hear the name Mayberry in Tulsa, sports comes to mind real fast.
Especially in basketball, where Lee Mayberry was a standout at Will Rogers High School, leading the boys to a state championship in 1988. He would move on to success at the University of Arkansas, helping the Razorbacks to the NCAA Final Four in 1990. A career in the NBA followed.
Lee Mayberry’s daughters Taleya and Kaylan have had success on the women’s side of the hardwood. Both were standouts at Booker T. Washington. Kaylan Mayberry, led the BTW girls to the Class 6A Girls state championship in 2013 and is now playing at Oral Roberts. Taleya Mayberry was a standout for the University of Tulsa from 2009-13, helping the Golden Hurricane win the Conference USA Tournament and a berth in the NCAA tournament her senior year.
Kyle Mayberry is distant cousins with that family. He just graduated from BTW and is now playing at the University of Kansas, whom he signed with to play as a defensive back.
Looking back on his career at BTW, Kyle Mayberry piled up some numbers on in all three dimensions of the game. On defense in his senior season of 2015, he racked up 29 tackles, including 15 solo stops while breaking up plenty of passes. As a wide receiver on offense, he took in six catches for 94 yards and one touchdown. As a return man, he ran back 10 punts for 408 yards and two TD’s.
“It’s special,” Mayberry says. “Growing up as a kid and looking up at Booker T., all the athletes that come from there. It’s just a blessing for me to be one of those great ones to come from Booker T. and make my mark.”
Special teams was involved in Mayberry’s most memorable Hornet moment.
“My sophomore year, we were playing East Central. It was the first time I ever played varsity. They stuck me in at punt return and I took it to the house,” he says.
The touchdown was called back, but BTW still won it by a large margin.
Kyle Mayberry led the state in punt returns for two straight seasons. He received lots of media recognition for his accomplishments, including being rated the No. 1 cornerback in the state. He also earned Class 6A East All-Star Honors by the Oklahoma Coaches Association.
“For me, it was real humbling. The things I do, I know I’m representing a family with a great history, athletically and academically. It was real humbling for me and it kept me focused,” he says.
Kyle Mayberry, whom refers to Lee as an uncle due to the age difference despite being distant cousins, has heeded advice from the older Mayberry.“He has always told me to keep doing what I’m doing,” the younger Mayberry says. “He always believed academics first and then athletics second. As long as I take care of the classroom, I was God-blessed with athletic ability.”
What’s next for Mayberry is his college career as a Kansas Jayhawk, where he hopes to help the worst team in the Big 12 rise from the ashes. He was recruited to return punts and play cornerback at Kansas, whom he chose over Virginia Tech, Houston, Louisville, Illinois, Washington State and Kansas State.
“Beneficially, I have offers for different positions,” Mayberry says. “I think the versatility that I played with, I think that right there has helped my recruitment process tremendously.
Kansas’ struggles was a concern for Mayberry. But he saw the coaching staff as authentic.
“You never know in college football, in the recruiting area, you don’t pick a college for what they’ve done the year before you get there. You pick a college based on the future of the program, and I believe the future of the program is headed in the right direction.
He believes KU will soon rise out of its slump.
“I’ve never played on a losing team and I don’t plan on being on one,” Mayberry says. “As a Jayhawk, I want to be the best. If I come up anything short of being the best as being a Jayhawk, then that’s not me. I want to be the best cornerback out there. I just want to bring life back to the program.”
Mayberry is already a Jayhawk basketball fan.
“I’m thankful for my family, thankful for my father and mother and I just want to thank God for everything He has done in my life,” he says.