More Than Hustle

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – At some point in the last few years, playing hard became a cliché.

Having a “high motor” or being known as a competitor somehow grew into synonyms for not being talented enough.

Jason Grube, head coach at Cornelius (N.C.) Hough, knows Luke Maye has a high motor. He’s knows he’s a competitor.

But he rejects the idea that Maye isn’t talented enough.

After all, Clemson, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Davidson – all schools who compete at the highest levels of college basketball – didn’t want Maye simply for his high motor and competitiveness.

“He can shoot it and he has some range,” Grube explained. “(In college) I know there’s going to be a lot more athletes on the floor. But he’s not going to be the No. 1 target there. In situations with penetration and kick, everyone is wondering ‘is he going to be able to get his shot off?'"

“He’s 6-8, so I don't see why he won’t be able to,” continued Grube. “When you have two guys on the floor, that stretches a defense. I think, depending on what (Marcus) Paige does, they’ll have at least two guys on the roster that will open things up. I don’t think he’s going to be a primary option guy. If he’s able to be a secondary option, he will be someone that can definitely contribute."

This season UNC is shooting just 32 percent from beyond the arc and its 4.8 made three-pointers per game rank No. 298 in the country.

Maye believes he can help.

Through the end of 2014, Maye was hovering around the 50-percent mark from beyond the arc. “I feel like I’m going to go in there and play my game,” said Maye, UNC’s only class of 2015 verbal commitment. “I shoot the ball pretty well from the outside this season and hopefully that will continue to improve. I can stretch the floor and help my teammates get open by drawing attention. I feel like I can bring different variables through the team.”

Perimeter shooting isn’t Maye’s only route to playing at UNC next year, however. While intangibles weren’t the only reason he was recruited, they were certainly a factor.

“Competitive nature and work ethic… you can’t measure those things,” said Grube. “(Luke) attacks every drill like he wants to beat you. College coaches, I’ve seen them say that’s one of the things that’s missing, the willingness to compete. That’s what sets him aside.”

Last week’s loss at North Mecklenburg was no different.

Maye struggled with the Vikings’ constant full court pressure, double and triple teams. He finished with just 11 points.

But, down 20-plus points and the game all but over, there was Maye diving on the floor for a loose ball.

“When he gets on the court, he brings it,” said Grube. “He’s really vocal. He leads the drills, he’s trying to outwork you. He makes everything a competition, that’s what separates him from a lot of guys.”

As Hough gets into league play and goes for a state 4-A title, Maye’s continued development is vital.

“He’s learning to play as the No. 1 option after getting double and triple teamed, learning how to rebound in traffic,” said Grube. “He gets the other team’s best defender every night. We’re trying to develop his game but also make sure he’s developing everyone else’s game around him.”

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