Clint: Lots to Love

HAMPTON, VA -- It doesn't take a PhD in hoopology to see that Kevin Love has what it takes to play the game of basketball. It doesn't take years of evaluating players. It doesn't even take the nod of approval from a seasoned recruiting analyst or an accomplished college coach.

It just takes two eyes. That, and a bit of common sense.

In a world where every high school athlete strives to be the next Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett or LeBron James -- Kevin Love just tries to do what he does best.

And that's play basketball. Tough, savvy, hard nosed, intelligent basketball.

The 6-8, 242 pound freshman -- yeah that's right freshman -- simply understands how to do everything associated with the game of basketball. Watching him in action isn't about deep three pointers, high-flying rim assaults or even behind the back passes.

There isn't much flash to his game. Nope, not at all.

In fact, most of what he does is done below the rim.

For starters, Love is probably more aware of what's going on around him then many politicians. He sees things before they happen. He's instinctive footwork and outlet passes make fans feel sorry for the other coach. He exploits the defense and sets his teammates up beautifully. His passing instincts are downright ridiculous.

And despite being only 15 years old -- this is a kid who knows the game on a completely different level. It's been awhile since the AAU circuit has seen a true post player who has such a feel for the game.

Much less one who can't even get a driver's license yet.

Take one look at this youngster and you might not see what makes him so special -- his thick legs, big country boy arms and rugged build make Love look more like an retired WWF wrestler than a baller.

But just fixate your eyes on his game for a few minutes and you'll understand why this kid will play the highest level of basketball one day.

It's in his blood. It's in his heart. And it's in his soul.

The son of former NBA player and Oregon standout, Stan Love, this bulky freshman was born to play the game of basketball. And despite playing against prospects that were two and three years older this past weekend, it was him that looked like the veteran on the AAU circuit.

From splitting double teams, to showcasing a Bill Walton-esque drop step, to firing 40-foot assists in the flick of a wrist, Love simply put on a show this weekend in Hampton.

Fact -- he is the most fundamentally sound post player in high school that we've seen in some time. Fact -- he will receive scholarship offers from all of the top college programs. Or at least the ones with any sort of basketball common sense.

And fact -- he will make play one day in the National Basketball Association.

But for now, let's just leave him alone and let him be a kid. A 15 year old kid.

Let's let him get back to Algebra tests, girlfriends and his Sony Playstation. Let's enjoy watching his beautiful non-flashy basketball skills for three more years. But let's just go ahead and call it like it should be called.

He is the number one player in his class in the entire country. And every other freshman has three full years to catch up.


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