Yesterday, when Kentucky clashed with North Carolina there was great hype. Two of the strongest bluebloods in the sport. Stars all over the court: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Justin Jackson, Joel Berry. Yet it was not a future NBA stud that decided this Elite 8 matchup, but rather a former walk-on, Luke Maye. The 6’8’’ Sophomore had his option of good college basketball programs to sign with including perennially relevant mid-major, Davidson, or a fellow ACC foe, in Clemson. However, he decided to take a prefered walk-on spot with his hometown team. As a Freshman, he played very sparingly getting no more than 5 mpg, and failing to contribute more than 1.5 ppg. As a Sophomore, Maye has seen his playing time increase, largely due in part to the development of his jump shot. He shot over 40% from three on the year. However, he still only averaged 5.6 ppg. Yet after putting up 16 points against Butler, Maye continued to see extended time on the court. He played great against UK, tallying 15 points, including a big pair of free throws, even before his fateful shot. He played so well, that he was on the court at the end of the game over his studly senior teammate, Isaiah Hicks.
After Justin Jackson missed the front end of a one and one, the Wildcats raced up the court, and let Malik Monk take an extremely difficult three that he buried. Smartly, Roy Williams elected to not take a timeout, and let his players finish the game. Avoiding his often overly-energetic ways, Theo Pinson brought the ball up the floor calmly, avoiding a charge, but instead calmly kicking it out to his hot teammate, Luke Maye. While the shot was open, it was difficult due to its rushed nature, and the pressure that existed. Luke Maye, and his eyebrows, have become a household name, and rightly so. He took on the challenge of improving, and playing so greatly that he left Roy Williams no choice but to play him, regardless of his recruiting ranking.