Watch the latest highlights of Kevin Love in action
Kevin Love's basketball checklist has one major omission ? an NCAA National Championship. He has to wait nearly two years to accomplish that, because he is only a high school senior. And a mighty fine one at that.
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center from Lake Oswego (Ore.) High School has done everything he can possibly do at the prep level.
Love has a state championship. He has been named Oregon's state player of the year. He helped win the Kingwood Classic - twice. His team won the Reebok Big Time. And the Tournament of Champions. And the Las Vegas Easter Classic. The list goes on.
Love and his Southern California All-Stars owned the AAU circuit. When together, the team compiled a 47-0 record. Love was named MVP of the ABCD camp twice.
"You couldn't have a better anchor on a summer basketball team," Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer says.
Love has grabbed more than 30 rebounds in a game at the City of Palms, one of the best high school tournaments in the country. He has scored more than 50 points in a game. He has made some of the most memorable outlet passes in high school history. Game winning shots? Love has plenty of those, too.
"He has a strong competitive will and makes the simple play exceptionally well," Meyer said.
The accolades go on and on.
He has done everything he can possibly do at the high school and AAU level. Now he is entering Michael Jordan territory. Love is looking for repeats in his last year in the world of teenagers. He wants another state title. He'll probably score over 50 points in a game again. Mr. Basketball in Oregon? It will be a tight race between him and good friend Kyle Singler.
Meyer said he hasn't seen a player that can do the things that Love does inside the paint.
"When it comes to how fundamentally advanced Love's game is, you have to throw out the concept of age," Meyer said. "What big man playing ball today has as sound a game as Love? Tim Duncan and then who?"
Unlike Duncan, Love has a nastiness to his game that players on his team rely on and opponents dread. That sounds a lot like a former NBA great, according to Meyer.
"Love will have to have a Bill Laimbeer approach to his game when he gets to the NBA if he wants to max out as a player," he said. "Physical intimidation goes a long way in making up for insufficiencies athletically.
The challenge ahead at UCLA goes far beyond anything he has faced at the high school level. Stanford has the Lopez twins to battle down low. Washington could have Spencer Hawes in Seattle as a sophomore. You never know, O.J. Mayo may be a USC Trojan next year, too.
Put the roadblocks and players in his way. Love likes the challenge. It hasn't stopped him during his brilliant prep career.
Rivals.com is unveiling its preseason Elite Team for the Class of 2007. Comprised of the nation's top high school basketball stars, the Elite Team is broken down into position-specific first, second and third teams. These stars will soon be signing with the top college basketball programs en route to the NBA. We will announce one player each weekday from Oct. 2-20.