On Monday, the Associated Press released its preseason rankings for college basketball, which slotted the North Carolina Tar Heels as the eighth-ranked team in the land. A day later, their official preseason All-America team was released, and it features a familiar face.
Luke Maye caps off an offseason surrounded by hype with his inclusion on the AP All-American team. He received 52 votes, which was second only to Carsen Edwards of Purdue, who received 63. The rest of the team is rounded out by Duke’s R.J. Barrett (50), Kansas’s Dedric Lawson (30), Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ (23), and Nevada’s Caleb Martin (23). Because of a tie at the bottom, the team features a sixth man for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
After becoming a hero for “the shot” that propelled the Tar Heels to the 2017 Final Four and eventual national championship, Maye became a force in the ACC last season. He averaged 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting 43% from three. While his appearance on this list isn’t exactly a surprise, it’s still a nice honor and it gives the senior big man a lot to live up to in his final season.
Although there’s no official second team, the players who would make up that next group based on voting are Tennessee’s Grant Williams (18), Syracuse’s Tyus Battle (11), Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura (10), St. John’s’ Shamorie Ponds (10), and Virginia’s Kyle Guy (8).
Nassir Little, a projected top five pick in next year’s NBA draft, was somewhat surprisingly left out of the voting entirely. I’m not necessarily an advocate for giving preseason awards to players who have yet to see the court, but Duke freshmen Barrett (50) and Zion Williamson (3) each received looks, as did Indiana freshman Romeo Langford (1).
In total, the ACC had two players that made the team (Maye and Barrett) and three more honorable mentions (Battle, Guy, and Williamson).