North Carolina forward Luke Maye has become a star this season and the spellbinding narrative that everyone wants to sell you is that the former walk-on was an afterthought and nobody wanted him coming out of high school.
And while it’s true that Maye did enroll at North Carolina uncertain whether he’d be placed on scholarship, not much of the rest of the narrative holds up.
Maye was actually heavily recruited out of high school and was listed by the 247Sports composite rankings as the No. 155 prospect in the country for the Class of 2015. He had offers from Notre Dame, Clemson, Virginia and Davidson, to name a few.
However, playing in the ACC and staying close to home was imperative for the family-oriented young man, as reported by Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer in a column on Friday.
“My family is really important to me and I wanted to have my family come to as many games as they could,” Maye said of his recruitment.
So he signed with North Carolina without the certainty of a scholarship offer but it was always designed to be temporary. By the time he got to campus North Carolina had missed on Brandon Ingram, who they saved a scholarship for and who eventually signed with Duke. That opened the door for Maye to be put on scholarship.
And so the rest is ultimately history. Maye played sparingly as a freshman before growing into a reserve role during North Carolina’s national championship season last year.
Now, he’s a bonafide star and, while it feels easy to package his rise with the underdog label, that’s not exactly true. But the thing is that the real story is actually better.
Maye could have gone on to play and become a major star in Division I college basketball in a number of places. He chose to fight long odds at North Carolina because he wanted to be close to home.
He’s a local hero with a regional-final winning shot and now an All-American season to his name. That in and of itself seems worth celebrating without the need for attempting to sell him as North Carolina’s version of Rudy.
The post Luke Maye narrative at North Carolina doesn’t really add up appeared first on Diehards.