Love Leads Legends to Win

Last week Oregon basketball fans were sent into a tailspin when Lake Oswego star Kevin Love indicated when asked who his favorite basketball programs are, he said the ones who have been most recently recruiting him the hardest.

Love, 6-10, 255, told Brad Allis of that Arizona, North Carolina and Duke are the teams that have been recruiting him the hardest and were the first names to come to mind. Does that mean that Oregon has been eliminated from his list of suitors even though he can't make a commitment for another two years?

"Oregon is in his top-5," said Stan Love, Kevin's father and a player that donned the green and yellow of the Ducks back in the late '60s and early '70s.

The younger Love is just completing his sophomore year at Lake Oswego so it might be premature for any fan of any program to jump to conclusions about where will Kevin end up going to college. After all there is a lot of work to be done between now and the time Love has to make a decision on his future. Right now he is involved with the Portland Legends, an AAU team, that played an exhibition game on Saturday night against the Clark County All-Star's at Clark College in Vancouver. Love had a typical game -- for him, 23 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists in leading his team to an 84-74 victory.

The game was extraordinary in the sense that the start was delayed when two fire alarms sounded that cleared the gym, first before tip off and again just before halftime. While the game was on the court, Love faced a more physical style of play than he might be accustomed to in the Three Rivers League of which Lake Oswego High School is a part. Keeping in mind that Love is only 16 years old, it sometimes is easy to forget his youth when watching him play -- and that there is a maturation process going on for both the player and person.

"We love Kevin to death," said Portland Legends assistant coach Terence Burns. "We are working on getting him more experience against better players."

Love has the ability to change the complexion of a game and perhaps his greatest asset is the potential of his ability to fit into the team concept with his considerable skills.

Troy Berry, who is also the headman at Benson High School of Portland, coaches the Portland Legends. Berry is one of the highest regard coaches in Oregon high school competition and is assisted by Burns and NBA legend Maurice Lucas. Lucas was known as a fierce competitor and physical player in his time in the NBA and was part of the Portland Trailblazers' Championship team in 1977. Lucas' influence on Love might be just what the doctor ordered because it will take a lot to impress him. Love has the great skills according to Lucas but there are some things Lucas is encouraging Love to do.

"Kevin has to get into the weight room," observed Lucas about the physical aspect of basketball. "It's all about the body."

Lucas thinks that Love will greatly enhance his presence and performance by making fitness and conditioning a constant priority. While Kevin is physically impressive now he will be even more so in the future as he follows Lucas' advice.

The Legends will next play in New Orleans in a tournament held on Memorial Day weekend. Burns hopes that more games could be scheduled in the Portland area so that fans can catch a glimpse of Love, Kyle Singler (who was not at the Saturday game due to a conflict) and the rest of the Oregon high school stars.

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