Scouting Report: Kevin Love

Dave Telep, the nation's leading recruiting analyst, reviews his notes and compiles in-depth scouting reports on North Carolina's basketball recruits. In this edition -- 2007 Top 5 PF Kevin Love ...

Kevin Love
6-9, 250
Lake Oswego (Ore.) HS

Strengths:
First, he is very crafty around the bucket. He's got some counters to legitimate post moves and that bails him out of a lot of situations – when you have the skillwork and footwork to counter a defensive move it allows you to be very successful. And the fact that he can play on different spots on the floor – I liken him to Elton Brand in that he can play facing the bucket, can play inside and, like Brand, can be your go-to guy.

Once you see him step away from the basket, you become even more impressed. He can play facing the basket, he's actually moved his game to where he can shoot the ball with consistency out to three-point range.

He's a good defender in that he'll play you straight up and he's an impediment to the basket. He's not a guy who chases shots, and blocks them on a consistent basis at a high number. He stands his ground, blocks you from getting to the basket, boxes out, does the little things and has his bag of tricks, he's just not a shot chaser. He boxes you out, he cleans the boards and he's a tremendous passer. For a guy his size, he's a tremendous passer. As an outlet passer, if you surround him with good athletes, he'll throw it on a string the length of the floor to a guy in stride and not blink -- he's that good at rebounding, turning and getting it out of there.

He plays hard, and he empties his tank and I think his effort has always set him apart. He's not a guy who takes games or plays off because of who he is and how he's so successful. He's not Amare Stoudemire, where he could conceivably take a play off defensively and pin a shot on the backboard because he can make up ground. Kevin has to be fundamentally sound and playing hard all the time to succeed with how his game is set up. And he does that.

Weaknesses:
Where he can really improve is his athleticism. That's where he's run into a few issues, playing against elite players with equal size, but livelier bodies. Those are the types that tend to slow him down in the interior. He needs to figure out how to be successful against that measure of athleticism and size at the highest level.

He's not unathletic, but he's not quite as athletic as Elton Brand was at the same stage. And that's an area where he stands to improve. He wears some contraptions on his knees, but I can't recall him having any serious documented problems.

College Projection:
I see him as a guy who plays both post positions in college, completely dependent on the team's personnel.

You could see a 6-11, bouncy athletic guy at center and using Kevin as your skill guy at the four.

He's as well equipped as any big guy in the country to walk into a college basketball game today and not look out of place. He's got size, he's strong and he's got the skill package. All that stuff works. He has a history of good basketball that runs through his family. Because of the people around him in his life who have pushed him to excel and succeed, he's clearly worked on his game a considerable amount to this point and that's helped define him as a player and advance past other guys.

Ranking:
No. 3 -- It'd be tough to envision him sneaking up higher or dropping much. He's really good right now. The challenge for Kevin is going to be fending off others because he might not have as high a ceiling as some players in this class. He is such a polished up guy right now that it has a lot of advantages. But he may not have the same kind of ceiling that say a Michael Beasley has, because athletically they're on different planes.

Final Thoughts:
Kevin Love was ready to play college basketball two years ago because of what his games looks like right now as a high skilled guy with a strong body.

He's been ready to play college ball for a while now.

Each year he's made a bit of an improvement and he always looks good because he comes out and consistently puts up numbers. In an AAU game he's getting 20 and close to double digits boards each time out. There are a lot of ways to beat your man – Love does it with bulk, skill and intensity. And I think he's polished himself up each time out.

That's the challenge – where does his game go from here? To take that next step, you'd like to see him run the floor a little bit better, be able to hold up against the elite level athlete, which he's eventually going to run into.


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