North Carolina has had good luck with players “testing the waters” of the NBA Draft since the rules for underclassmen were relaxed three years ago.
Justin Jackson went through the process in 2016, returned to school and became the ACC’s Player of the Year. Kennedy Meeks did the same and played an integral part in the Tar Heels’ national championship run.
Last year it was Theo Pinson that benefited from the evaluations he got from the NBA talent scout, especially on the offensive end of the court.
Now, it’s Luke Maye’s turn to take a similar path.
The rising senior forward announced Monday that he is entering his name into the draft process. Because he is not hiring an agent, there’s a better than even chance that he will return for his final college season in 2018-19.
And if he does, there’s an even greater chance that he’ll be better for the experience.
“This is a great opportunity for Luke,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said in a statement announcing Maye’s decision. “This is what the system is designed to do, which is provide players with an opportunity to workout with NBA teams and get feedback from those teams. Our staff will support Luke and will do whatever we can to help him throughout this process.”
Maye earned first-team All-ACC honors, as well as the league’s Most Improved Player award, after averaging 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season. His scoring average was 11.4 points per game higher than his sophomore to junior seasons.
The 6-foot-8 Huntersville native scored 30 or more points three times, including a career-high 33 at NC State, had 17 double-doubles, and led UNC in rebounding, field goals (251), 3-point field goal percentage (.431) and blocked shots (38). He was second in the ACC in field goals and rebounding, and seventh in scoring and field goal percentage (.486).
Underclassmen have until 5 p.m. on June 11 to withdraw their name from the draft and return to school if they don’t hire an agent. The draft will be held on June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Here is the full list of of NBA draft entrants and transfers from North Carolina schools:
Marvin Bagley III, Duke
Trevon Duval, Duke
Gary Trent, Jr., Duke
Wendell Carter, Jr., Duke
Luke Maye, UNC
Doral Moore, Wake Forest
Bryant Crawford, Wake Forest*
Chris Clemons, Campbell*
Jerome Robinson (Raleigh), Boston College*
Ky Bowman (Havelock), Boston College*
*–has not hired an agent
Omer Yurtseven, NC State (to Georgetown)
Shaun Kirk, NC State (to UNC Pembroke)
Spencer Newman, NC State
Darius Hicks, NC State
Keyshawn Woods, Wake Forest
Donovan Mitchell, Wake Forest
Rich Washington, Wake Forest
Sam Japhet-Mathias, Wake Forest (to San Jose State)
Jalek Felton, UNC
Jordan Tucker, Duke (to Butler)
Raquan Wilkins, ECU
JaQuel Richmond, UNCW
MaCio Teague, UNCA
Zach Cottrell, Appalachian State
Marcus Burk, Campbell
Damontez Oliver, Campbell
Wyatt Self, Campbell
Andre Fox, High Point
Luke Vargo, High Point
Jamal Wright, High Point
Brandon Goldsmith, NC Central
Alston Jones, NC Central
Alex Mills, NC Central
C.J. Wiggins, NC Central
Kwei Lartney, NC A&T
Femi Olujobi, NC A&T
Raymon Pratt, NC A&T