May is a load in the paint. He has a very wide frame and is a real physical presence down on the blocks. He is an exceptional rebounder, he anticipates well and with his wide frame he can box out almost any player in college basketball. When he gets in position and boxes out properly, vary rarely does he miss a rebound. At the next level, his rebounding ability should be his best asset.
Part of the reason May is such a great rebounder is because he has outstanding hands. His hands are like magnets regardless if he is on offense and defense; he engulfs every ball that he can get his hands on. After he secures the rebound, he is skilled at throwing a good outlet pass to start the fast break. His soft hands make him very good at catching entry post passes as well.
He knows how to carve out space in the paint for himself. He's very skilled and when he gets position down low, it is very hard to push him away from the basket. He boxes out very well for a post player and can be an extremely dominant rebounder at times; he has collected 20+ rebounds multiple times against good competition.
May is a fundamentally sound player, which is what you would expect from the son of a former NBA player. Not only can catch almost every pass thrown his way, he can also finish very well close to the hoop. He has a feathery soft touch around the basket and can also step outside and shoot a nice short jump shot. He knows how to use the backboard on his shot and can finish in traffic as well.
He is an improving scorer with his back to the basket; he has a variety of post moves down low and has solid footwork. He has a nice short hook shot and since he has such good hands, when he catches the ball deep in the paint you can usually count on him for the field goal.
During a few games this year he has been an absolute beast in the paint, dominating on the backboard and scoring every time he touches it in the post. He is a workhorse in the paint; he has a very good work ethic and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. At times during his career at North Carolina he has been the only post presence they have had, however that did not limit his effectiveness on the court. If he has to rebound, he will do that, and if he has to score, he will do that as well.
May is not an outstanding athlete by any means and that hurts his draft stock because it might scare a few teams away from him. He does not have very good leaping ability either at this point. The thing that might be holding him back the most is the fact that he is not in great shape at all conditioning wise, although he is not as chubby as he used to be. His explosiveness might be a lot better than what we are seeing right now, but he's not in shape so it's impossible to tell. That's a concern because if he can't get in shape at this age in college, what's going to happen in the pros? He'll have to shed at least 10-15 pounds next year if not more than that if he really wants to be considered a top prospect at his height.
May does run the court well, but most of the time he is playing center on the team and not PF. He will not be able to play center in the NBA at 6-7 or 6-8, so he will have to develop into a more consistent post defender and learn how to defend better away from the basket. I do not think he will have a problem rebounding, but he might have trouble running with NBA PF's and keeping up with them over the course of 82 games that are 48 minutes long. He can most likely handle most NBA PF's in the paint once he gets his feet wet, but if he was taken away from the basket and asked to defend on the perimeter, he would be taken advantage of because he does not move his feet well at this point.
May has developed offensive abilities at this point in his career thanks to his strength advantage, but he will have to expand his game even more and become a better outside shooter at the next level. He has great touch from around the rim but he will have to develop a solid 15-foot jump shot to be more dangerous in the league.
He will also have to expand his back to the basket game and include more moves to his repertoire to be as effective as possible.
He is not a great ball handler either, just not being comfortable at this point dribbling the basketball. He is mostly a catch and shoot post player and does not dribble that often to create shots for himself. To his credit, though, he is North Carolina's only post presence right now, the only player that can consistently score with his back to the basket and that's what his role has been so far. He might be able to show off better perimeter skills next year, but at this point he has yet to do that.
This year as a junior, May has really had some very solid games against good competition. He had 14 points 19 rebounds against Kentucky; 23 points and 18 rebounds at Duke and 22 points, 11 rebounds against Maryland. In addition, during the final game of the regular season, May probably had his best game of his career with 26 points and 24 rebounds against a solid defender and pro prospect in Shelden Williams.
2003-2004: Played just 11 games last year as a result of injury; 23 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in a win over Illinois this year; There are some very tough big men for May to face this year in ACC play such as Eric Williams of Wake and Shelden Williams of Duke.
May has been a consistent double-double threat almost throughout his entire college career. He is a very effective rebounder, and depending on who comes back to UNC next year, May could have an even bigger role on the team offensively and could really explode as a NBA prospect. He has had a very impressive run to end the season this year with monster games against FSU and Duke.
To his credit also, he produces on a team with very talented players around him, many of whom are future NBA players as well. If he was on a team with fewer weapons offensively, he could put up even better numbers I believe.
There is almost no chance he will come out early for the draft this season, at least from what he has said in the press, so look for him to have a big year next year. If he improves his overall conditioning, continues to be a force down low rebounding and scoring, he could play his way into the mid to late 1st round. If he can't get in shape and North Carolina falters with as many as five key players leaving, he could be a 2nd rounder too. It's really up to him. He has a lot of potential, but his overall lack of athletic ability and height are what's keeping him from being a legit lottery prospect for next year right now.
March 2005: When Sean May got to college many considered him nothing more then just a fat, slow, short post player that's getting by on his pedigree, but he has proven over his career so far that he is anything but that. He has worked hard to become better conditioned and a true dominating force in the post on the college level. During some games, he simply is a beast down low that's unstoppable no matter who is guarding him. I believe his height will not be a major issue at the next level, the bigger issue is the fact he plays center in college and will have to play PF in the NBA, so his overall lateral mobility and quickness could be a concern. That is the only real transition issue I see, because he looks to be a legit 6-8, and he has long arms for a player that height. People will say that he is obese, but he runs the court well considering he is on a fast break up-tempo basketball team in UNC.
2003-2004 (Daniel Shar): Sean May can play the game of basketball. He may be oversized, but so is his knowledge of the game. While the likes of Eric Williams may be more physically fit, Sean May easily has the advantage mentally. I rarely see this kid make mistakes, he just knows what to do at all times. He has a beautiful jump hook, he is a solid rebounder and defender, and he isn't afraid to throw his weight around.
2003-2004: May's father was the National College Player of the Year in 1976 when he led Indiana to an undefeated record of 32-0 and won the NCAA title; May played on the same high school team as 2002 first-round NBA draft choice Jared Jeffries.