Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's A Love Story For Bruins

By Brian Dohn
L.A. Daily News

Prospect, seen by many as No. 2 in nation, commits to UCLA

UCLA coach Ben Howland finally landed the type of impact big man that has eluded him since his arrival in Westwood.

During a Tuesday press conference in Las Vegas, 6-foot-9 Kevin Love - the top low-post player in the Class of 2007 and widely regarded as the second-best high school senior-to-be in the nation - gave a non-binding oral commitment to UCLA.

The Lake Oswego (Ore.) High product, who is the son of former Laker Stan Love and nephew of Mike Love, a founding member of the Beach Boys, chose the Bruins over North Carolina.

"There were a lot of changes for a while in my mind, and then UCLA just skyrocketed in my mind," Love said. "I just had a right feeling. One day (earlier this month), I just woke up and it felt right. I then woke up day after day, and it still felt right. I like coach Howland's style of slow down the ball, get the big men the ball."

Love's decision is not surprising. UCLA was long reported as the favorite to land him. His commitment will not become official until he signs a binding letter of intent in November, but his announcement essentially ends a courting process that began when he was in eighth grade.

It also marks the first time since becoming UCLA's coach that Howland, who is 61-35 in three years in Westwood, was able to land a prized, ready- to-play big man. Love's first game for UCLA will not be until November 2007, but he brings a polished interior game built on scoring and rebounding.

"It's the best get for UCLA since Baron Davis (in 1997)," said Greg Hicks, a recruiting analyst for "Baron was the best point guard in the country. Kevin is the best center in the country. Kevin Love could have played for UCLA when he was a freshman in high school. He was that advanced."

Love should add a consistent scoring presence in the interior.

"We have so many guards (at UCLA), and I'm hoping Arron Afflalo stays around & for his senior season, and I can kick the ball out to him for open 3s," Love said. "I don't think with Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute) and me, that anyone is going to outrebound us."

Love averaged 29 points and 17 rebounds per game in leading Lake Oswego to the state title. He also scored more points (813) than any junior in Oregon history, but there are questions about how much growth remains for his game. And, ultimately, the answers could determine how long Love remains at UCLA.

In recruiting circles, there is talk Love could be at UCLA for only one season before jumping to the NBA.

"I think there is a question of how high his ceiling is," Hicks said. "He's not a great athlete. But he has an exceptional feel for the game, great skills. The question mark for the NBA is athleticism."

(reprinted with permission)


(photo credit: Brian Ely/The Oregonian)


At Jul 26, 2006, 6:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man the excitment have reached me even in Hungary. I feel many kidds will follow the LOVE bug and thats fine with us, Go Bruins and I LOVE this game .


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