On Saturday, Kennedy Meeks and Luke Maye will take the floor at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., as part of North Carolina’s 20th Final Four team.
Long before they were teammates, and longer before Maye became a Chapel Hill folk hero last Sunday, the two were high school opponents. The Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler tells the story.
As a senior at West Charlotte in 2013, Meeks was a McDonald’s All-American and considered the best player in the city. Maye, meanwhile, was a sophomore at William A. Hough in Cornelius, N.C., a town roughly 20 miles north of Charlotte. The two teams played in the same conference.
“My freshman year in high school,” Maye told the Observer, “we played them three times and each time they beat us by something like 30 points.”
His sophomore year, though, the teams split in the regular season. They then faced each other in the postseason, Meeks’ last high school run before heading to UNC.
In the tournament game at West Charlotte, Maye outplayed Meeks and Hough won, 61-52. Maye finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Meeks had 12 points and five rebounds.
From there, Meeks helped UNC head coach Roy WIlliams keep Maye on his radar.
As Fowler writes, the Meeks/Maye connection is far from the Final Four’s only one. Meeks and South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell are good friends and former teammates on the same travel squad, Team United Hoops. Maye also played for Team United, but on a lower-level team given his younger age.
Additionally, Maye’s father, Mark, was a three-sport star and one the nation’s top quarterbacks in high school. He went on to play at UNC, which helps explain his son’s choice to walk on to the Tar Heels rather than accept scholarships elsewhere.
“Luke coming to Chapel Hill gave us two boys from 704,” Meeks told the Observer, referring to Charlotte’s area code. “And now it’s time to show out for the city.”
You can read the rest of the Observer’s fun story here.