TOC: Kevin Love Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--Kevin Love, the 2007 Tar Heel basketball recruiting target, and his Southern California All-Stars won their first game in pool play of the 2006 Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, but the topic of discussion quickly turned to his unofficial visit to the UNC campus on Thursday. He answered questions from media members following the victory.

How did things go with your unofficial visit to UNC?

[Thursday] we took an unofficial. We came in at 10 o'clock--really 10:15 because my dad can't find the place. We came in, had a lot of fun. We went to eat with Coach [Roy] Williams, met all the guys, played with them for a little bit because it was unofficial. We just had a lot of fun.

What do you think of this place?

It's great. There is a lot of tradition around it, and plus that Duke-North Carolina rivalry is something else. It's a phenomenal place with great people around here. Coach Williams is great [with] great players also. I love it.

So you got to play a little ball with the guys?

Yes, I did.

Was Tyler here?

Yes, he was.

Did you two go at it?

We were actually on the same team. I wanted to go against him and guard him a little bit, but--he is psycho. They guys said he's psycho, and he IS psycho. He's just crazy. He gets that face going and starts breathing all hard, and you just don't even want to be next to him. I was glad I was on the same team.

How much will this help with your decision, and do you see it coming soon or will it still take a while?

It's still going to take awhile, but this definitely influences my decision in coming out here. It opened my eyes a little bit and also my family's eyes. LA and NC are the two places I'm looking at right now, and there are so many pros and cons to both places

What are those pros and cons? Can you compare and contrast what opportunities you have at UCLA that you don't have at Carolina and vice versa?

There are a lot of the same things. You have great coaches at both places. Mr. Howland is a great coach and Mr. Williams, of course. Their staffs are the best in the country. Can't really go wrong with either place. Distance is not a factor in my decision.

Both places are great. They both have great players. A couple of years ago NC won the national championship, and UCLA got to the national championship last year, of course. There are so many things.

How do you respond to the reports that Kevin Love is a heavy lean to UCLA--UNC is still in the picture, but you are a heavy lean?

I just think it is said because they say I'm a west coast guy because I'm from out in Oregon. I really don't think about it. I love NC the same as UCLA. I just don't really listen to that stuff. I just sit down with my close family and friends and really talk about it, and that is how I will make my decision.

I don't really have a response to that. I love both schools the same.

How have your father's experiences--having been a basketball player himself at all levels--helped you in this?

He's been a role model in my life and also the biggest influence in my life as far as basketball too, so it's been great that he played in the pros and was also a high school and college All-American. He has taught me a lot. He's got a lot of dirty tricks up his sleeve so he shows me a couple of those.

Do you think he has a feel for the recruiting process that a lot of fathers wouldn't?

About his prior experience to the recruiting world? He wasn't really recruited that hard, and he will admit that to you. He really keeps my head level. He's been the biggest influence on my life, and I love him to death. He's helping me through this process along with my mom, so it's been great.

You father told us that the family is very close and you are close to your older brother. He said it might be difficult to leave and come all the way to the east coast. Do you see that being an issue?

Maybe for him. I'm fine. I mean, unless he is coming out here with me. I can come out here. It's nice out here. I loved it yesterday, seeing everybody. Coach Williams is just great, so you can't find a better coach in the country as him.

Just to be clear, you are now down to two schools, UNC and UCLA?

Yes, sir. There is only UCLA and North Carolina.

Is there a chance that anybody else could enter the picture, or is that window closed for other schools?

I'm not going to say, 'No,' but it is pretty deep into my recruitment now that there are only two schools left.

Can you name any schools that could make it back on to your list?

It just depends on what coaches come and the players that come also. There are so many great schools out there that maybe want to slip in. But who knows?

What kind of sales pitch are you getting from UNC?

It was great. I talked to Marvin Williams with my family. It was great coming in here playing with him. He told me a lot. He said, 'This is the best place for you.' Of course, everybody is going to say that. But knowing Marvin, knowing his reputation, that really meant a lot. Looking into his eyes and him telling me that really meant a lot.

Will you take a look around some more after this?

No, not after this. We have got to go home. I have some studies to do. We have finals, and I have to keep my grades up.

Your parents mentioned that you expect to come back for an official visit in the fall.

Definitely they did. They tried to fit two days into one, so I think they would definitely love to have me back. And I would love to be back for an official visit. So I can take my SAT's, and then I think I just have to be in my senior year to take [an official visit].

Will you take a look around some more after this?

No, not after this. We have got to go home. I have some studies to do. We have finals, and I have to keep my grades up.

Your parents mentioned that you expect to come back for an official visit in the fall.

Definitely they did. They tried to fit two days into one, so I think they would definitely love to have me back. And I would love to be back for an official visit. So I can take my SAT's, and then I think I just have to be in my senior year to take [an official visit].

Would you expect to come back for a football game weekend, during the basketball regular season, or for the Midnight Madness events--one of those?

It just all depends on my time table on when I'm going to make my decisions. I would love to see a basketball game. I would love to see that rivalry game between Duke and North Carolina and kind of get a feel for it--send tingles up and down my spine.

Is is possible you could make a decision before that?

Yes but, like I said, I just have to sit down with my close family and friends, talk about it, and make that decision.

How probable is it that you could just do it this summer and get it over with, so you can go on with your life?

Um, I don't think that's possible, to tell you the truth. I just want to get better each day, work on my nutrition a little bit. I have to lose this 10 pounds I have on my gut.

You look leaner than in the past. What do you weigh?

It's about 255, down from 265, so that feels good. I'm trying to convert that other weight I have into muscle.

What are you doing to get lean? Are you eating a lot of lean meat?

Yes. A lot of it is diet, but a lot if it is getting in the gym two times each day.

Did you get recognized on campus on your visit?


How did that feel?

It felt pretty good that people knew what was going on and how the recruiting world works. Being with Coach Williams, everybody is going to notice you. We heard a lot of 'Roy, we love you! Roy, we love you!' I was like, 'You put them their, Coach.'

You got a chance to play pick-up ball with the guys coming back next year, and you've also played against the 2006 guys who are coming in this year. What are your thoughts on the talent level now at Carolina?

Well, that recruiting class coming in is--WHOA--I think it's the best recruiting class in the country. No hard feelings towards Greg Oden and the Ohio State Class, but that is a solid group, the players they have coming in.

How could you possibly see yourself fitting in with all those players?

Well there are two players--actually three players--Nick Collison, Sean May, and Tyler Hansbrough. I think I play reminiscent of Sean May a little bit. Just how Coach Williams develops big men in the best.

There are four power forwards on the roster now. Will that be a factor at all?

No. I'm not worried about it. I'm going to go in there and try to work my hardest to beat out everyone for the spot.

What was the thing that Roy Williams had to say to you that impressed you the most?

I liked that he motivated me in a way that, 'We are not going to give you anything free if you come here; there will be players in front of you. You will have to work for your spot. That motivates me because I don't just want to be good, I want to be great. That motivates me a lot.

When you walked around campus what did you think of this place?

You get a tingle up and down your spine because it is such a great place. I walked in, and I didn't realize that the arena was this big. I walked in, kind of looked up, and was in awe of the whole place. They had all the bleachers pulled out yesterday when we were playing. It was a lot of fun and it really opened my eyes up. My first shot was almost an air ball because I was so excited to be out there and just looking at the whole place was great.

Has anything surprised you about your visit so far?

Not really. I expected a lot of stuff, but I got to meet Dean Smith yesterday, which was a really big deal to me. That was huge. I walked into the room--I had no idea. So that was awesome.

Anybody else you met on the visit? There was Marvin Williams.

Probably Marvin was the best. He a really humble guy, and I respect him a lot. He plays for the Atlanta Hawks now. He a really cool guy, told me what was up. The year he had here was phenomenal.

You have a good sense of the history of basketball and talk about players as if you had seen them who played before you were born. Why do you want to know so much about players who came before you?

I think the thing was that while other kids were watching Big Bird, he wanted me watching Larry Bird. Kevin McHale, Bill Walton, all those guys. I grew up watching their moves on Superstar tapes. It was a lot of fun. I didn't want to be a big kid watching Big Bird. Sesame Street wasn't my thing.

How long do you want to play college basketball--one year, all four?

It all depends on what happens and how the year goes, the potential status in the draft.

Did you talk with Roy Williams about how he handles the players who have a chance to leave early for the NBA?

We talked about that. We talked about how Marvin didn't want to leave after his first year, but his financial [situation] with his family wasn't that great. I respected that a lot. He sat down and talked with him. He just says, 'If it is your chance to go then you go.' He's not going to tell you to stay if you don't need to stay.

Do you think Tyler will be here if you were to come here?

No, Tyler's gone. He's too psycho for college basketball.

What did Tyler have to say to you about coming here?

We were good friends. We played against each other in the Nike Camp my freshman year, and he beat my butt up a little bit, knocked me down, dunked on me. So. He's a good guy. He just told me that this is a great place, and he hopes I'm having fun on my visit. He said that Coach Williams is the best, so I took that into perspective. I love Coach Williams myself.

Do the recruiting rankings matter to you? Would being the number one player be a big deal for you?

Not really that big of a deal. I'm just working on getting better myself. Somebody might tell me and I'd be flattered by it. I would be a big deal in a way if somebody recognized me, but other than that, I'm not going to get a big head.

You have mentioned the Duke-Carolina rivalry a lot. Is that something from watching TV, did the kids talk to you about it?

The kids talked about it, and they said they beat them on Senior Night and whooped their a-- with a bunch of freshmen. So that was pretty funny to me.

Do you and Taylor ever talk about it?

Oh, definitely. He's a Dukie, so that would be fun to come in and play against a good friend. We talk a lot, and that distance isn't going to make a big deal to him. So I'm talking to him about what it would be like.

Do you talk about having the chance to be so close to him if you choose Carolina?

I even talk about it with Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson because they are really good friends of mine--and Brandan Wright. Any of those guys could leave, but I'm hoping that [at least] one of them will be here if I decide to come here. They are all good friends. I think you have to have a little bit of a support system, a couple of good friends here if I were going to come here.

Are you and Kyle Singler close?

Yes, very close.

You could play together at UCLA or against each other as part of a rivalry if he goes to Duke and you play at UNC. Do you talk about that, and do you talk about playing with each other or against each other?

I don't know. That would probably give you guys a little too much information. I would love to play against him, love to play with him. I'm a competitive guy. I'll play against him, but I'll also play with him. That was my partner in crime for a couple of years. I love playing with him. He's an unselfish guy and a great player.

You had to play against him for your state championship. What was that like?

Oh, we won. We won by three. He's a great player, but we had a good defense against him. We had a great structured offense to beat their team. They were pretty big and ranked #1 in the state, so it felt good going in and beating them.

You mentioned walking in and seeing the building. When you saw all the jerseys and the banners, what was that like?

Like I said, it was breathtaking looking up there and seeing all those jerseys up there, seeing Jordan's jersey, Worthy's jersey--everybody.

Stan Love

(Kevin's father)

Tell me about the visit on Thursday.

It was a great visit. It's a very impressive place. The coaches are nice, and Carolina speaks for itself.

What things were you able to do and discuss, and what did it involve?

Just getting to know the coaches a little bit. We took a tour of the campus and saw the dorms and living conditions. We took a little tour of the town. We met with the academic advisors. We got up to speed on the university.

There were some limitations as to what you could do on an unofficial visit in such a short time. Is there a chance of an official visit coming back?

I'm sure there is. Kevin was highly impressed. It's obviously an impressive place. You look up in the rafters and you know the storied history of the arena and the coaches. It speaks for itself.

Has the time frame for a decision changedf?

I don't think so. He'll digest it and still keep an open mind about other schools. And we'll see how it goes.

Have you talked about setting up a time for the official visit?

No, we haven't talked about that. Kevin has a pretty full schedule of AAU and camps--the ABCD Camp. Then he has to get back to school. It's a pretty difficult school he is in, a college prep school. It's the #1 school in Oregon as far as academics are concerned. Then he will probably sit down with his Mom and figure out what they are going to do.

Karen Love

(Kevin's mother)

What did you do on the visit, and what did you like?

The campus is amazing. Roy Williams is amazing. The whole atmosphere of the campus is just great. The coaching staff, everything is very terrific.

You are well aware it is a long trip. How would feel about Kevin being that far from home?

I think if that is the right decision and the right fit for him to progress in his basketball then that is what we will chose. We'll sit down as a family and make the decision.

So distance in and of itself is not a big issue?


There are limitations to what you can do on such a short unofficial visit. Was there anything that you didn't do that you wanted to do or anything that you didn't see that you wanted to see?

Not really because we kind of talked to them beforehand about the things we wanted to do that were really important--you know, meeting with an academic advisor, the housing situation, and all that. We accomplished that and everything went really well. We were really pleased.

So you had all your questions answered?


Do you feel like there is a need for an official visit?

Kevin will come back for his official visit in the fall.

In UNC and UCLA you are talking about a lot of basketball history and a lot of tradition. Does the basketball part of his decision matter to you as the mother?

Yes, it does. Because I think where Kevin's future lies--hopefully he'll accomplish his goals and dreams which is why he has chosen the two best schools in the country.

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