By Mychal Hunter
In the spirit of my “ACC’s Top Returning Players” list, I asked some friends what their thoughts were on the subject. Here is how they responded:
Kevin Sweeney of CBB Central podast and CBB_central.com
The top returning player in the ACC is Luke Maye. Honestly, Maye is one of my favorite players in all of college basketball. His journey from committing as a walk-on to NCAA Tournament hero to All-American has been incredibly fun to watch, and now Maye has the chance to lead the Tar Heels to a second national title in 3 seasons in his final year in Chapel Hill. Maye’s ability to stretch the floor allows UNC to play 5-out basketball that creates matchup nightmares for opposing teams. He’s also capable of dominating on the boards, a big reason why the Tar Heels were still able to maul opponents on the glass despite playing small last season. Not only is Maye the ACC’s best, you could make a case that he’s the best returning player in the entire country
Will Ojanen of ACCNation.net
I’m going to answer it this way. I think the most talented player returning is Virginia’s Deandre Hunter. His development is one of the reasons why Virginia was one of the best teams in the country last year. He’s going to be a dominant force that will be difficult to stop this year
Harold “Tee” Little, Friend of the Program
I had a hard time choosing between Kyle Guy and Luke Maye. I ultimately chose Maye. His points per game are going to be crucial, especially if the other bigs haven’t progressed as much as people think they have or should have. Additionally, his experience is going to be key for the young guys, as he is an example of what working hard can do. Kyle Guy is a close second in my book because he is a shot maker. While he averaged 13-14 points last year, he had others around him who could pick up the scoring slack. Points are at a premium when you run as slowly as Virginia does.
Matthew of All Sports Discussion Podcast and AllSportsDACC.com
My choice for the ACC POTY is…Luke Maye. Mr. Maye carried the UNC team on his back as a sophomore to an NCAA Tournament Championship. As a junior his per game statistics went up nearly three fold. He can play outside the arc and inside around the hoop. He is one of the most difficult match-ups in the ACC because of his ability to play all over the floor. He also plays within himself and doesn’t beat himself (cliche’ I know), but he is a smart player, someone you want leading your team.
Nathan Erbach of Slap the Sign
It probably has to be Luke Maye. He gives off that Tyler Hansborough type vibe. Meaning, stay at UNC for most of, if not your entire eligibility and become a dominant force. He is not the most athletic player nor is he the best at one particular thing, but at the same time try to stop him from putting up numbers. Chances are, you won’t.
Jeffrey Fann of All Sports Discussion Podcast and AllSportsDACC.com
I am going with UNC’s Luke Maye as ACC POTY. While Duke brings in incredible talent, Maye’s consistency and versatility make him one of the ACC’s most difficult players to guard. He is a 6’8 match-up nightmare, who can score, rebound and extend out to shoot the three.
So there you have it. Do I think the same way? You will know in a few days. It should also be noted that possibly the best answer I received was when I spoke to College Hoop News’s Tony Patelis.
Me: I wanna ask some other independents what their opinion is on the best returning player.
Tony: You should.
Me: Who would be your choice?
Tony: Luke Maye.
Me: I think everyone is going to say that.
Tony: Well if he is than he is.