: A whole lotta Love have taken UCLA a long manner this season.
Expectations were already oversize when Kevin Love walked onto the Westwood campus as the top high school participant in Beaver State history. The 6-foot-10 fresher was the desired large adult male the Bruins had been lacking since Bill Sir William Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar starred on Toilet Wooden's team ups in the late 1960s and early '70s.
"I've heard the comparisons. Those are unfair, because they are probably the two best college participants of all time," Love said. "Those are the hardest footfalls ever to follow in college basketball."
But he's trying.
Love chose UCLA ahead of North Carolina and quickly won over the Bruins' demanding fans, fulgurant them with old-school mercantile establishment passes, 3-point scoring and low station moves. Today in Sports
He's kept his cool all the manner to the Concluding Four, where Love desires to give the Bruins a record 12th national title before likely heading off to the NBA draft.
"It's been the drive of my life," he said.
Love booms on playing the greatest games under the hottest spotlight, which do Saturday's national semifinal against Memphis his ideal situation.
He's averaging 21.8 points and 11 recoils while shot 61 percentage from the field and 77 percentage from 3-point scope in the NCAA tournament. He's blocked 17 shots, including seven inch a electrifying two-point win over Lone-Star State A&M in the 2nd round.
"He came in with so much outlook and hype," UCLA manager Ben Howland said. "To have got all that on your shoulders and not only attain all the outlooks and transcend them, he's been incredible."
Love have learned to play Howland's style of hard-nosed defense, something that wasn't necessary in high school, where he "just screen of stood around and got easy handbaskets and waited for rebounds," he said.
The turning point in Love's memorable first, and likely lone collegial season came against Lone-Star State in early December. The Bruins were beaten by two points at home, their first loss, and Love played just 24 proceedings — nearly 10 proceedings less than the other starters.
"I wasn't doing that great on defense. Lorenzo (Mata-Real) had to step in being a fourth-year guy," Love said. "From then on, I just tried to analyze movie and listen to my coaches."
Unlike most of the team, Love have been injury-free throughout the season, except for tweaking his dorsum in the Pac-10 tournament. He's scored in dual figs in all 38 games, including 23 double-doubles, with 16 of those in the Bruins' last 22 games.
He stepped into one of the best states of affairs any fresher had in the country. Love have a strong encouraging cast, with backcourt couple Darren Collison and Charles Taze Russell Westbrook and forwards Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Josh Shipp already veteran soldiers of back-to-back Concluding Four appearances.
"I was still a small spot nervous if I was going to be accepted on the team," Love said. "They took me in as portion of the family, and there was never any amalgamated emotions or green-eyed monster about it."
Having most of the attending on him is "a small eldritch sometimes," Love said. If he's on a dais with his teammates, Love will go through a inquiry directed at him to one of them.
"He's a squad participant and for a child who had so much promotion in high school, the ability to not allow it travel to his head," Wooden said. "I've been very impressed with him as a participant and as a person."
Love's signature mercantile establishment passes, rarely seen in college anymore, have got made infinite television foregrounds and prompted aged UCLA fans to state him, "I used to see Sir William Walton throw that." Against Saint Francis Xavier in the Occident Region final, he stood on the baseline and fired a nail base on balls the length of the tribunal to Westbrook, who made the easy layin.
"He's got the arm of Elway. Westbrook dashes like he's Jerry Rice," Memphis manager Toilet Calipari said. "There's potential, and there's performance. He performs."
Love honed his passing play accomplishments by watching cablegram rematches of Magic Samuel Johnson during the Los Angeles Lakers' "Showtime" epoch of the '80s and doing electric drills with his father Stan Love, a former Beaver State star who played in the NBA.
"He acquires joyousness like a Magic Samuel Johnson or (Larry) Bird from making a great pass," Howland said.
So makes Stan, who takes unabashed pridefulness in his youngest son. Dressed in Bruin blue, he frequently leaps up to hearten and pump his weaponry in the stands. Wife, Karen, have on Kevin's No. 42. Having Kevin at UCLA have reunited the full Love family, whose Southern Golden State roots run deep. Kevin was born in Santa Monica before Stan and Karenic moved to Lake Oswego, Ore., where he grew up. His uncle Microphone Love formed the Beach Boys in the part celebrated for its beach culture. 1 |