UNC Basketball: Luke Maye 2018-19 season in review

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Luke Maye
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Luke Maye /

We break down Luke Maye’s final year with the North Carolina Tar Heels as he ends his historic college basketball career

Nassir Little | Rechon Black | Sterling Manley | Garrison Brooks | Coby White | Brandon Huffman

Luke Maye stepped on the University of North Carolina’s campus as a preferred walk-on in the 2015 recruiting class. The Tar Heels were fresh off a Sweet 16 loss to Wisconsin but things were starting to feel like this team would be ready to contend for a title next season.

The 2015 recruiting class was made up of just Maye and former VCU commit Kenny Williams, a two-man class that was ranked 70th overall and 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference. With Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson entering their freshman year, plus a 2014 recruiting class that was among the best in the country, UNC felt like it had the pieces to win it all even with just a two-man 2015 class.

When it was all said and done, Maye leaves UNC as a National Champion having reached the Final Four and title game twice in his career. He averaged a double-double in both his junior and senior years an impressive feat in a very good ACC. But it was Maye’s shot against Kentucky in the 2017 Elite 8 that would defy his legacy among Tar Heel greats.

Maye drained a jumper with less than a second left to beat Kentucky in that Elite 8 and send the Tar Heels to the Final Four where they would eventually beat Gonzaga and win it all.

His career didn’t end how he wanted it too, losing in the second round to Texas A&M in 2018 and then in the Sweet 16 to Auburn, but that doesn’t take anything away from a successful career for Maye. Let’s take a look at his 2018-19 season in review.

The Good

For the second-straight season as a starter, Maye was a double-double machine. He recorded 15 double-doubles on the year while averaging 14.9 points and 10.5 rebounds for the Tar Heels. This came a year after Maye averaged 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds while making the All-ACC First Team.

While there were some games that Maye struggled in, he was consistent for the most part.

He was a reliable scoring option throughout the year for the Tar Heels and one of the go-to guys when UNC needed a bucket. Along with fellow Senior Cam Johnson, Maye was one of the leaders on this team and the players knew it.

The thing about Maye’s game that is really intriguing is his ability to score from everywhere on the floor. Not only can he get it done in the paint but also from the perimeter. Maye shot close to 30 percent from the three-point line, down from his junior year but he was still a threat from the outside.

This forced defenses to play Maye differently and often times he would find himself open on the perimeter.

When in the paint, Maye was a force on the class. For a forward, Maye put up good numbers in the rebounding category and helped UNC once again be one of the top rebounding teams in the nation.

The Bad

When Maye did struggle, it was usually on the defensive side of the floor. He did run into some mismatches against bigger, stronger forwards in the paint.

There were some times where Maye was bad on the defensive end of the court and it became noticeable. It’s not a major flaw in his game but it is the biggest if we were to pick something out.

If he hopes to play at the next level, it’s going to be something he really needs to work on.

Best Game

There were two games I wanted to pick for this but I’m going to stick with the most memorable one from the season. In UNC’s first game against Duke, Maye owned the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

As soon as Zion Williamson left the game, Maye flat out dominated and took over.

Maye finished the game with 30 points and 15 rebounds, becoming the second Tar Heel to finish with 30/15 against Duke. He became the first Tar Heel to have a 30/15 game against both Duke and NC State in the same season as he finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds in a win over the Wolfpack earlier in the year.

He also joined some elite UNC players with multiple 30/15 games in a single season:

What the future holds..

As far as the NBA goes, Maye is currently considered “on the bubble” in terms of his NBA Draft projections. A lot of mock drafts have him just outside of the second round with just two months to go before the draft.

Maye has some work to do if he wants to hear his name called in June’s draft. He will likely get some private workouts with NBA teams to evaluate his talent and potentially an invite to the NBA Draft combine.

If Maye doesn’t hear his name called, it would shock us if he wasn’t at least signed to a roster for the NBA Summer League.