The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday December 7th

Tar Heels Overseas: Several UNC alumni star abroad on the basketball court

Senior forward Luke Maye (32) drives past Iona player on Friday, March 22, 2019 during the first round of the NCAA Championship at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Buy Photos Senior forward Luke Maye (32) drives past Iona player on Friday, March 22, 2019 during the first round of the NCAA Championship at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

While there are many recognizable Tar Heels competing in the NBA, many leave the United States to compete overseas. 

Since graduating from UNC, these former players have continued to lead their teams in leagues around the world. 

Luke Maye

Luke Maye, who is best known for sending his team to the 2017 Final Four with his last-second shot against Kentucky, graduated in 2019. Since leaving UNC, he spent a year in the NBA G-League with the Wisconsin Herd. He then played in Italy with Dolomiti Energia Trentino for a year before ending up with BAXI Manresa in Spain, where he is currently competing. 

Maye is currently averaging 3.3 points, one rebound and 13 minutes of playing time per game. He was also awarded EuroCup MVP of the Week honors during his time in Italy.

Christian Keeling

Christian Keeling transferred to North Carolina in 2019 for his final year of eligibility after graduating from Charleston Southern in three years. He now competes in the United Kingdom with the Glasgow Rocks, where he leads his team in scoring and assists with 17.2 points per game and 2.8 assists, respectively. He also ranks third on the team in rebounds with 5.1 per game. 

Justin Pierce

Like Keeling, Justin Pierce transferred to North Carolina in 2019 for his graduate season, after playing his first three seasons at William & Mary. He has since joined Kobrat in Lapua, Finland where he ranked third on the team in scoring over the 2020-21 season at 17.2 points per game. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. 

Brice Johnson

After being a unanimous first-team All-ACC selection and becoming the Tar Heels' first consensus first-team All-American since 2009, Johnson graduated from UNC in 2016. He was drafted 25th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2016 NBA Draft, and bounced back and forth between the G-League and the NBA for seven years before a small injury forced him to take a quick pause. 

His return was marked by his signing with the Toyama Grouses in Japan. 

Before the pandemic, Johnson was hoping to use his time overseas to get back in the swing of things before ideally returning home to compete in the United States. But, in the meantime, he averages 5.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. 

Marcus Paige

Despite being a two-time All-ACC selection, Marcus Paige is perhaps best known to Tar Heel fans for his improbable three-point shot to tie the score with under five seconds left in the 2016 National Championship game against Villanova. 

After a couple of years in the G-League and a season with the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA, Paige traveled abroad and carved out a three-year stint with Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia before joining the French team Orléans in September. 

He is currently averaging 14.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, and leads his team in assists with an average of 5.0 per game. 

Kennedy Meeks

A former member of the 2016 Final Four and 2017 National Championship teams, Kennedy Meeks has spent time in the G-League and the Japanese B.League before making his way to the Samsung Thunders in South Korea where he reunited with his college teammate and fellow national champion, Isaiah Hicks. 

Meeks is currently signed with Cholet in France, where he will play the 2021-22 season.


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