Tom Sorensen

Will UNC’s Luke Maye be changed by shot that beat Kentucky? Yes, but only in one way.

North Carolina forward Luke Maye made the shot that got the Tar Heels past Kentucky, but don’t expect him to be too different because of it.
North Carolina forward Luke Maye made the shot that got the Tar Heels past Kentucky, but don’t expect him to be too different because of it. AP

Kudos to Luke Maye for hitting the winning jump shot against Kentucky. I picked Kentucky to win the men’s tournament and I still offer kudos.

In the interest of full disclosure, not one of my picks – Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville or Villanova – made the Final Four. I did, however, pick Connecticut to win the women’s tournament. I’m not bragging, but I feel good about the pick.

Luke’s father, Mark Maye, was among the most coveted quarterbacks in the country out of Charlotte’s Independence High. His college choice was a major story. He was going to Alabama. No, he’s going to ... speculation changed daily. It was as big as any sports topic in town.

He chose North Carolina, and his arm in effect wore out, which is the only reason we didn’t see him in the NFL.

Mark was, and is, one of those people you like to be around. He’s smart and he’s accessible, and not for a minute did he act as if his athletic gifts separated him from the rest of the human race.

In other words, he’s a good guy. I suspect Luke Maye is similar.

About Luke’s winning basket: Roy Williams’ timeout strategy will forever be part of his legacy. He disdains them and has been blasted for his disdain. In the ACC tournament this season, his Tar Heels led Duke 63-61. Duke then went on a modest little run, outscoring the Tar Heels 25-14. It wasn’t until 90 seconds remained that Williams deigned to call a timeout.

Against Kentucky Sunday, Malik Monk hit a three to tie the score. Only 7.8 seconds remained and there would be no timeout. The Tar Heels sprinted to the other end of the court. The Kentucky defense scrambled but failed to keep up. North Carolina’s Theo Pinson penetrated, attracted defenders and found Maye, who hit the shot for which he’ll forever be known.

When he came to North Carolina as a freshman last season, Luke was Mark Maye’s son.

Mark Maye is now Luke Maye’s dad.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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