CHARLOTTE – Sean May is one of the most decorated players in the history of North Carolina basketball.
Hopefully his return to campus lights a spark under a current Tar Heel with May-like qualities.
North Carolina junior forward Kennedy Meeks has heard the comparisons to May for a while. They both stand at around 6-9 and arrived on campus with more baby fat than muscle. Both post players are known for having soft hands and the ability to score around the basket. May was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2005 Final Four and his jersey now hangs in the rafters in the Dean Dome.
A first-round draft pick of the Charlotte Bobcats, May’s pro career has been derailed by one injury after another. He spent some time in the NBA with the Bobcats and the Sacramento Kings, and bounced around Europe. Recently, he was added to the Carolina staff as an assistant to the director of player development.
His presence should immediately impact Meeks, who averaged 11.4 per game last year, but was inconsistent in the post. His last season under Roy Williams, May was the best big man in the country, averaging 17.5 points per game, including 26 points and 10 rebounds in the national championship. Not sure if productive stats in college automatically equals good coaching, but Meeks expects a rise in production from all the big men under May’s tutelage.
“I think it’s big because he’s been there before,” Meeks said at the ACC Operation Basketball. “He’s won a championship before, he knows what it takes. As far as me and Joel (James) being big body bigs, he can teach us a lot about spacing and getting under bodies, finishing around the rim or shooting hook shots, that’s just the type of things he did in college.”
Williams, who coached May for three years and is entering year three with Meeks, sees the similarities between the two.
“Sean had to lose a lot of weight, changed the weight around, and he became the most dominate player in college basketball,” Williams said. “Kennedy was 319 and now his 258 on the scales. Now, Kennedy has to take that new body (like Sean) and do different things.”
Growing up in Charlotte, Meeks was a big fan of May and considers him like a brother. So Meeks was well aware of the fact that May went through the same ordeal he did – trying to lose weight and become the go-to man in the paint.
“I would say he was probably my favorite player, as far as big men,” Meeks said. “I looked up to him so much as a big brother or a role model, just because of his knowledge of the game. He really good score the ball, he could put the team on his back. That’s really the dreams that I want. If it happens or not, he’s still going to be my role model and I can go to him about anything.”