By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Oct 07, 2014 at 5:04 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

O.J. Mayo isn’t interested in reliving days gone by.

It’s not hard to understand why, either.

The shooting guard, who will turn 27 in less than a month, was perhaps the Milwaukee Bucks’ most high profile free agent acquisition last offseason. He was coming off a year in which he averaged 15.3 points per game in Dallas in just under 36 minutes of his action – his highest totals since 2009-10.

Milwaukee was supposed to be a good fit personally, too, with his younger brother Todd playing for Marquette University.

Things didn’t go as planned, for Mayo or the team, last year.

He played in a career-low 52 games for various health and personal reasons, scored the fewest points of his career, matched his career-worst shooting percentage and posted a career worst Player Efficiency Rating (PER), all the while having to deal with questions about his weight.

After Jan. 25, he played in just 11 of the Bucks’ final 39 games.

"I don’t want to talk about no weight – I want to talk about basketball, talk about training camp, and this upcoming season," he said. "All that’s dead. I forgot about it. I’m sorry. It was four, five months ago, man."

So as Mayo beings the second year of his three-year, $24 million contract with his second head coach, he’s looking only to the present and to the future.

"I forgot about last year, I’m sorry," he said. "I really did. I’m ready for this new year, man. We’ve got a good team and I think we’re all motivated to have a positive season. That’s where my mind is. I can’t thin both ways. It’ll feel a little weird."

To do that, he spent a lot of time in Miami working out with Bucks point guard Brandon Knight, a noted demon in the gym. Mayo also said he worked out on campus at the University of Southern California, and switched up his diet to include juice and salad-only regimens.

"Just a guy that’s dedicated, you know?" Knight said of the difference he saw in Mayo this summer as opposed to the guy he played with last season.

"He re-dedicated himself to the game. And like I said, for me, if you come to the gym with me and you’re not working, you’re going to look bad. He knew. He knew that he had to do it the right way. That’s one of my brothers, so when he comes in the gym with him I’m not there to embarrass him. I’m in there to push him, motivate him, inspire him. I think that’s one of the reasons why he wanted come down there and get a couple weeks in there with me."

Mayo said he’s never shied away from physical work, but this offseason was more about getting his head together.

"I’m just proud of him," Knight said. "He’s been through some things, but he’s a professional and he’s going to be where he needs to be. You got to remember, he’s one of the most talented players on our team – it’s just a matter of him mentally being there to contribute. But he can play. He can play his butt off. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to contribute and be a big factor on our team."

Jason Kidd said Mayo’s one season in Dallas under Rick Carlisle will give the guard a baseline in learning Kidd’s systems as the new coach said he’s bringing some of what he learned in his four years under Carlisle to Milwaukee.

But more than that, Mayo is one of five established veterans on the Bucks – even though he’s still in his prime years. Only Zaza Pachulia, Jared Dudley, Jerryd Bayless and Ersan Ilyasova have more NBA seniority than he does.

"He’s come in very positive," Kidd said. "Talking on defense and offensively, he’s making plays for his teammates – that’s what we need from the veteran guys."

Mayo believes he can not only play at the level he did his first two years in Memphis (82 games each year, 18 points per game, 44.8 percent shooting) but he hopes age has made him better, mentally and physically.

That, he hopes, is enough to put last year for him and the Bucks firmly in the past.

"Last year is dead. Buried. Y’all can go dig it up if you want," he said.

"I think as a team we were really disappointed having the worst record in the league, winning 15 games, nobody wants to have a year like that again. As far as a team, we have to hold each other accountable for having an important summer as a whole."

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.