UNC’s Luke Maye to test NBA Draft waters

The Tar Heels star won't hire an agent and is expected to return to school after going through the pre-draft evaluation process

UNC's Luke Maye muscles his way to the basket against Boston College's Jerome Robinson during a game last season (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

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