Friday, March 31, 2006

Love Follows UCLA Run Closely

By Brian Dohn, Staff Writer
L.A. Daily News

UCLA's unexpected run to the Final Four will impact the decision-making process of its top recruiting target, who is also one of the top juniors in the nation.

Kevin Love, a power forward for Oregon state champion Lake Oswego High, added the decision by former UCLA star Walt Hazzard to allow him to wear Hazzard's retired No. 42 jersey "continues to illustrate the class of UCLA."

"Of course, UCLA getting to the Final Four impacts my decision," Love wrote in an e-mail to the Daily News. "How couldn't it? I've known for three years that UCLA was going to get there, and it was only a matter of time.

"You could always see the fire and sense of purpose in Coach (Ben) Howland and (assistant) Coach (Kerry) Keating. I had the opportunity to watch a UCLA practice in November, and they are fun to watch. The coaches are so hands on, and they really work hard with each player."

Love, a 6-foot-9, 250-pounder and the son of former Lakers forward Stan Love, watched each of UCLA's NCAA Tournament games on television, but with a caveat.

"I have to admit that when UCLA was down big to Gonzaga at the half, I stopped watching," he wrote. "After the game, my mom put on the tape, and we ate dinner while watching the second half. It was insane ... I can't wait until this weekend. Of course, I'm going to be rooting for the Bruins, even though Big Baby (LSU center Glen Davis) is a friend of mine."

As for Hazzard's gesture, Love showed his sense of humor by asking whether maybe other UCLA recruits wear No. 42. He then wrote: "it just continues to illustrate the class of UCLA. You can see it everywhere. They are UCLA. They don't need to impress me. I need to impress them."

Love is considering UCLA, North Carolina and Duke.

Read all of the L.A. Daily News coverage of UCLA's Final Four run HERE

In other recruiting news, James Keefe, 6'8 UCLA-bound senior from Santa Margarita HS, was named to Parade magazine's All-American High School Boys' Basketball team as a second-team selection.



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