Maye declared for the draft on April 23rd, but never hired an agent, maintaining his final year of eligibility.
“I have had a great experience learning from the NBA process and growing as a basketball player during the past couple weeks. I would like to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for their support. Through this process, I have decided that I am going to come back to school to improve as a player and finish my college career. I am looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that I will face and there is no better group to do it with than my teammates and the Carolina family! Time to finish the right way with two of the best players and leaders I know! Let’s finish our legacy the right way! #RoadtoMinneapolis,” Maye said about his decision to remain in Chapel Hill:
The all-ACC forward will have the chance to follow the footsteps of former teammates Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks, and Kennedy Meeks. That trio put their names in the NBA Draft pool following the 2016 season, and they used the feedback they received from pro scouts to improve their games, leading to even more success in 2017.
It won’t be easy for Maye to get much better than he already is. The Huntersville, NC native avereged 17.0 PPG, 10.1 PPG, was named a third team All-American, and second-team all-ACC.
However, Maye has a history of surpassing expectations, and there is a good chance he does so again in 2018-19. The 6’8″ forward should enter the year as a preseason All-American. ESPN analyst Jeff Borzello said that Maye “might be the best returning player in college basketball.”
Now that Maye is officially back, UNC’s roster for the upcoming season is finally set in stone.
Along with Maye, Kenny Williams and Cameron Johnson will be returning to Carolina to exercise their final years of eligibility. Both possess a great shooting stroke, and will be very important players for UNC next season. The senior class of Maye, Williams, and Johnson will be one of the best and most experienced in all of college basketball.
Carolina’s stout senior class is not the only reason for optimism- Roy Williams is welcoming one of the best groups of freshmen in the country; Nassir Little, Coby White, and Rechon “Leaky” Black.
Little is the highest ranked recruit Williams has signed since Harrison Barnes in 2010, White is an elite combo guard who is the all-time High School Basketball leading scorer in North Carolina, and Black is a versatile point forward with loads of upside. This group is the best UNC has brought in since 2014, and they should all contribute right away.
We know for sure the starting lineup will include Maye, Williams and Johnson. The final two slots in the lineup will be up for grabs. Little, Manley, Woods, and White will have the best chance of snagging these two spots.
The competition should be beneficial to UNC as it will push the players and give Roy Williams and his staff a great look at just how bad their players want to succeed.
Regardless who starts, Carolina will enter the 2018-19 season with a talented and deep roster capable of contending in the ACC and once again making a deep run into March.