UNC Basketball: What is Luke Maye’s Ceiling?


During the months of May and June, we here at Keeping it Heel will be going in-depth to preview the 2015-2016 North Carolina basketball team.  We will be spending one day each on all twelve players, profiling each man on the Heels’ roster.  Wednesday was Kenny Williams day. Check out that content here and here. Today, as you may have guessed from the title, is Luke Maye Day.

For those of you who don’t know, Maye (a power forward from Cornelius, North Carolina) will be a Freshman next year. Maye is a big guy, standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 225 pounds.  In high school he dominated the competition, averaging over 18 points and 13 rebounds in more than 100 high school games.  24-7 Sports has Maye ranked as the 148th best player–and 36th best power forward–in the nation.  But will he be able to continue this success at the next level?  Probably not.  Unfortunately.  In high school, he was just bigger and stronger than the competition, easily able to out-muscle any opposing player in his way.  But the players in college are much bigger.  There is a huge difference between fighting for a rebound against a high school player and fighting for one against a player like Montrezl Harrell or Jahlil Okafor.  I think there will definitely be a period where Maye has to adjust to the new level of competition.

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Luckily, Carolina can give him this period to get his feet wet.  With a wealth of forwards returning, including Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson and Joel James, UNC won’t have to rely much on Maye in the 2015-16 year.  I think Maye will get a few minutes a game, coming off the bench to give the other players some breaks, much like what Grayson Allen did last year for Duke.  I think Maye will have some good games, and will definitely add some offense and rebounding to a Carolina team that was already good in those categories a year ago.  But what is the best Luke Maye can do?  How high will his ceiling be next year and in the years to come?

To be completely honest, I just don’t see Maye having a huge role next year.  But I think in the years after that, once he has matured a bit and once the guys ahead of him on the depth chart have moved on, Maye will be a very good player for Carolina.  Maye will fit very well into Roy Williams’ offense.  As you can see in his highlight tape, he is a very good passer who can quickly start the fast break.  He also has a good touch around the hoop and from behind the three-point line and I think he will be a better scorer than Meeks and Johnson are.  I think that by the time he leaves North Carolina, Maye could put up numbers similar to those Tyler Zeller had his senior year–16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.  I also think Maye will be able to add 3-4 assists per game.  So, will Maye ever be a National Player of the Year?  Maybe not. But I can definitely see him as 1st team all-ACC and maybe an all-American toward the end of his career at Carolina.