UNC's Luke Maye Declares for 2018 NBA Draft, Won't Hire Agent

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18: Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels runs down court against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 18, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

North Carolina Tar Heels junior forward Luke Maye declared for the 2018 NBA draft but decided against hiring an agent, the school announced Monday. 

Maye averaged a double-double (16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds) in 2017-18 after becoming a key player in North Carolina's rotation.

Since he didn't hire an agent, Maye will have the opportunity to remove himself from draft consideration and return for his senior season. He's likely testing the NBA waters just to get an idea of where he stands. ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony noted how many underclassmen have already declared for the draft:

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman didn't list Maye among the top 50 players in his most recent big board earlier this month, so the Tar Heels star might struggle to warrant second-round consideration were he to hire an agent and stay in the draft pool.

Maye is coming off a solid year, but that came after two largely nondescript seasons at North Carolina. He played just 178 minutes as a freshman and averaged 5.5 points as a sophomore. NBA teams may want to see a stronger body of work before they seriously consider Maye an option in the draft.

Another North Carolina star, Justin Jackson, is a good example of how returning to college can help solidify a player's draft stock.

Jackson flirted with the NBA in 2016 before returning to Carolina. He then captured the ACC Player of the Year and helped the Tar Heels win a title in 2016-17 before being selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Maye's rebounding and solid shooting—he hit 43.1 percent of his three-pointers in 2017-18—should translate to the NBA when he takes the next step in his career. But especially in what's already a crowded draft class, he'd benefit from spending more time with the Tar Heels before making the jump.

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