UNC Basketball Preview: Luke Maye Insider

Inside Carolina acquired a wide range of insider perspectives to compile an exclusive player-by-player preview of North Carolina's 2015-16 basketball season.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Luke Maye’s freshman season begins this fall as a legacy recruit of sorts. His father, Mark, was a record-setting quarterback for the Tar Heels in the mid-1980s, while his mother, Aimee, received her degree from UNC after a promising high school basketball career. Those familiar bonds are not why programs such as Clemson and Davidson offered Maye scholarships, or why programs such as Virginia, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame expressed interest.

The 6-foot-7, 227-pound forward provides versatility in his ability to rebound down low and his ability to knock down perimeter shots, as well as under-appreciated assets in the form of good hands and quality court vision. Maye joins a roster currently two-deep at the forward positions, although Roy Williams has shown a willingness throughout his coaching career to play reserves in critical games, provided they take instruction well and excel in practice settings.


By Jason Groube, Hough HS

I talked to him, texting back and forth to see how his semester was going, and he said it’s going really well. He said he’s been working real hard in the weight room and he feels like he has a shot at getting some play time. I think with his ability to shoot the ball, that’s one of the things they’re going to utilize.

With his size and his ability to rebound the basketball, I think he’s going to present some matchup problems. More schools are going to the stretch four. Carolina can really use some shooting and I think that’s going to be his ticket. He’s just got a tremendous heart, tremendous desire and he just plays hard all the time. He’s the type of player who is going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, to come in there and make some waves.


By Jacoby Davis, Team United

The thing about Luke is just that he’s such a tough kid. He played well during EYBL (AAU) and he went up against the best players in the country. I think he’ll want to come in at UNC and show that he belongs. Luke can really stroke the basketball from the outside. I think that’s how he’ll get on the court. But, he does more than that. He’s an excellent rebounder for his position and has really great hands.


By Rob Harrington

Maye projects as the fifth big man in the rotation for 2015-16. He’s sturdily built and likely will be the best three-point shooter of all UNC’s big men, but he also may struggle with the adjustment to college basketball as many freshmen do. He was a post player in high school but will need to evolve into a stretch four in order to compensate for a relative length and athleticism deficit, and that process is likely to require time. Ultimately, Maye projects as an effective contributor on that basis — and he may be pressed into action this season, depending on injury and fouling issues.


By Tyler Brooks

Maye is the first Tar Heel to fill the role of stretch 4 in eleven years, the first since the Marvin Williams/Jawad Williams duo. Given the improvisational and creative nature of UNC’s freelance offense and in the unconstrained space and motion structure of its zone offense, Maye could find quality opportunities and contribute offensively. His skillset also lends itself well within Carolina’s secondary break as he can spot up from the top of the key as the trailing big man. Even if the shooting window isn’t there, his presence should stretch the defense to create a wider passing lane into the post. Defensively, he may slightly struggle from a tangible perspective. His quality intangibles, however, will allow him to account for some of his physical limitations.


By Adrian Atkinson

As a prep, Maye has been lauded for a couple key attributes: 1) his ability to stretch the floor as a post player; and 2) his ability to rebound the basketball, particularly on the defensive end. Assuming that those traits carry over to Chapel Hill (and it is certainly possible that Maye’s lack of ACC-caliber size/athleticism in the post will hinder his defensive rebounding impact), Maye will join a very exclusive club of Carolina post players who combined those traits.

Since the advent of the three-point arc in 1986-87, here’s a list of UNC’s “stretch 4s (or 5s)” along with their 3-point and defensive rebounding numbers:
Joe Wolf 1987: 57.5 3Pt%, 10.8 3PtA Rate, 17.2 DR%
Pete Chilcutt 1990: 40.0 3Pt%, 11.7 3PtA Rate, 17.8 DR%
Jerry Stackhouse 1995: 41.1 3Pt%, 21.6 3PtA Rate, 15.2 DR%
Jason Capel 2002: 31.0 3Pt%, 45.2 3PtA Rate, 19.0 DR%
Jawad Williams 2003: 33.1 3Pt%, 33.5 3PtA Rate, 13.2 DR%
David Noel 2003: 28.1 3Pt%, 34.3 3PtA Rate, 11.6 DR%
Jawad Williams 2004: 30.5 3Pt%, 21.3 3PtA Rate, 11.7 DR%
Jawad Williams 2005: 38.1 3Pt%, 31.9 3PtA Rate, 10.7 DR%
Marvin Williams 2005: 43.2 3Pt%, 17.8 3PtA Rate, 21.5 DR%
David Noel 2006: 42.4 3Pt%, 31.0 3PtA Rate, 13.4 DR%
P.J. Hairston 2013: 39.6 3Pt%, 61.0 3PtA Rate, 11.2 DR%

Considering that the average ACC power forward has a DR% of 15.0, there aren’t many players on that list who both shot like a wing and cleaned the glass like a post. Hairston, Jawad Williams, and Noel never rebounded nearly as well as a true 4. Even Stackhouse, for all his talent and athleticism, barely did. Wolf, Chilcutt, and Marvin Williams are three examples of players who shot well from behind the arc while maintaining above-average (to excellent) DR%’s—and even those three did so with relatively few 3-point attempts. While Maye doesn’t figure to have that type of an impact—especially as a freshman—it will be interesting to see how UNC uses a player with his skillset.

(J.B. Cissell, Evan Daniels, Sherrell McMillan, Jack Morton, and Ben Sherman contributed to this feature.)

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