Luke Maye: Junior Primer

While the junior class features myriad athletic, long-term frontcourt prospects, Maye stands as an outlier.

The curious case of Luke Maye. The first thing to know about Maye is that, based on his production, he is getting vastly under-recruited. The power forward averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds per game last year on the EYBL circuit playing up with Team United, making him one of the most prolific big men in the Class of 2015.

And yet, his offer list includes only a few high-majors along with additional mid-majors: Virginia Tech, Clemson, Charlotte, Richmond, UAB and others. Numerous other major conference programs are watching and waiting. Explaining his game requires, in tandem, an explanation of his recruitment.

Maye is a true power forward in terms of size and strength. He's 6-7, 225 pounds, not too far away from his ideal future playing weight. He's also plenty mean for the post, using his power and terrific hands to rip down rebounds in traffic. Very few players boast such strong and sure hands, and he also throws fullcourt baseball passes on a line.

His track record most notably includes his breakthrough 2013 EYBL tour, but he also consistently got the better of current North Carolina freshman Kennedy Meeks last season. (Maye's father, Mark, played quarterback at UNC in the 1980s.)

Still, about those offers. Maye's offensive game does leave room for doubt. He's a volume, face-up four who's far better from 12-15 feet than he is from three-point distance, so to this point he can't truly be categorized as a stretch.

Meanwhile, he scored inefficiently for a relatively overmatched team on the Nike circuit, thus devaluing his stats in the eyes of some coaches. They'd prefer him to be a back to the basket scorer, which he is not. Maye's athleticism is just average by big league standards, and thus concerns exist about how he'll be able to finish inside versus shotblockers.

So, there's the disconnect between production and recruitment. And that underscores that college coaches emphasize potential over production, a fact that plays out time after time.

But I still believe, with all the applicable caveats situated and accounted for, that Maye is better than his recruitment. He may project as a fourth oor fifth starter for a major program, but a four-year player who rebounds and competes with tenacity has his place on a squad. For a style predicated around long-armed athleticism, perhaps not. And maybe not for a team that demands its big men to bury long bombs.

Fit will be more important for Maye than it will be for other, more versatile players. But within his style, and at the right program, he could proceed to a highly successful career.


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