CORNELIUS – Luke Maye is a nightmare, in a good way, if he’s on your basketball team.
The Hough High junior is big enough (6-foot-8) to shoot over just about every opponent. He’s quick enough to go around guys his size and strong enough to overpower smaller opponents under the basketball.
Trying to guard him this season was indeed a terrifying situation.
Maye’s balanced, polished game included averages of 19.3 points, 15 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 blocked shots. He is The Herald Weekly Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year for the second consecutive time.
“Luke has really developed his post game and is a great passer, not only on outlet passes but passing in transition,” Hough coach Justin Batts said. “He is a great rebounder, going over 1,000 career rebounds in his last game of the season. He alters shots in the paint on defense. He can get a defensive rebound and take the ball coast to coast, which makes him a matchup nightmare. You can’t just put a smaller player on him because he will dominate you around the basket.”
Opposing teams had an eyeful of Maye all season.
It began in the opener, a victory against Providence in which he had 35 points and 17 rebounds. In the second game, he pumped in 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds against Gaston Day.
From there, it was a barrage of standout performances as Hough forged a 22-6 record and berth in the N.C. 4A playoffs. A sampling of Maye’s top worksheets (there were many) include a season-high 36 points and 23 rebounds against Concord Robinson, 30 points and 12 rebounds against Vance, 29 points and 18 rebounds against Hopewell, and 30 points and a season-high 28 rebounds in the second meeting against Robinson.
He had five assists and seven blocked shots in a victory against North Mecklenburg, flashing other talents that make him high on college recruiters’ lists.
Maye capped the season with an outstanding game in a playoff loss to Ardrey Kell – 29 points, 22 rebounds and six assists.
Batts said two special moments were when Maye became the first Hough boys’ basketball player to reach 1,000 points and when he was named Most Outstanding Player in the Beach Ball Classic Tournament.
“The fact that as great of a player as he is, he is an even better student,” Batts said. “I had a substitute teacher come to me after a class they were covering to tell me that Luke got in front of the class and taught his math class the lesson and worked out problems on the board that the class was having difficulty with. That is a special student-athlete that set the bar high in everything he does and is a role model.”
HERALD WEEKLY 2014 BOYS’ BASKETBALL COACH OF THE YEAR
Justin Batts kept his Hough High basketball team in the thick of the race in one of North Carolina’s toughest conferences.
The Huskies (22-6 overall) won the regular-season championship in the MECKA 4A conference, which included powers North Mecklenburg and West Charlotte.
Hough advanced to the finals of the conference tournament and the second round of the N.C. 4A playoffs, which makes Batts the Herald Weekly Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.
Hough built a talented team headlined by junior forward Luke Maye. But it was the solid work by 6-foot-11 center Tucker Thompson, guard Theo Mack, forward Jaqueaz Jackson and a talented bench that blended with Maye to make Hough a contender.
“We had great seniors – Theo, Jaqueaz, Tucker and Akeem Barringer – that lead us,” Batts said. “We had guys that played for each other and handled adversity very well. We lost six games and in all of them we were either winning late in the game or down by a score. I think everyone became a better player over the off-season and pushed each other in practice to continue to improve.”
Hough beat Greensboro Grimsley 88-55 in the first round of the playoffs and was eliminated in an 81-77 loss to Ardrey Kell in the second round.