North Carolina’s Luke Maye has solidified his role as the go-to man on and off the court. He is averaging 19.9 points a game, as well as 10.5 rebounds. It is safe to say that he is the most improved player not only in the ACC, but also in college basketball as a whole. Within nine games this year, Luke is only seven points shy of passing his point total for his entire sophomore campaign. Luke Maye also became the first North Carolina player to score 100 points and have 50 rebounds within the first five games since Antawn Jamison.
Recruited out of Huntersville, North Carolina Luke was originally asked by Roy Williams to join as a walkon. After an opening and earning a scholarship, Luke entered his freshman season into a congested frontcourt. Only averaging 5.6 minutes per game, 38 points, and 54 rebounds for his entire freshman year, Luke used this year to learn and jumpstart his development from players such as Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks. Entering his sophomore year, Luke saw his minutes jump from 5.6 the previous year to an average of 14.2. Not only did his minutes jump but also his production. Combining for a total of 194 points and 138 rebounds, Maye was seen as an important contributor for a team looking to attend its second consecutive national championship. Little did Luke know that he would forever change North Carolina basketball history.
Luke Maye cemented his role in North Carolina basketball history his sophomore season with a last second and game winning shot against the University of Kentucky in the Elite Eight. Luke’s shot will not only forever go down as one of the biggest shots in North Carolina history, but it will also be remembered as a shot that ultimately led to winning the 2017 National Championship. Luke was not done there. With his life being changed drastically from one shot and becoming the big man on campus, he did not want to be only known for one play but rather his whole career. Knowing he would be expected to perform on a nightly basis with a starting role in his junior year, Luke spent his summer developing his game from all aspects not only on the court but also in the weight room.
While everyone expected to see improvement from Luke Maye in his junior campaign, it is safe to say no one expected him to be putting up record-breaking numbers within the first ten games. Luke Maye’s development is a prime example of his work ethic, dedication, and commitment to excellence. For a North Carolina team looking to attend its third straight national title game, fans can have confidence knowing they have last year’s final four most outstanding player in Joel Berry. As well as a feisty set of guards in Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson, Luke Maye is the cherry on top that could possibly propel them to a third straight title game!