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Feelin' the Love (cont.)

Posted: Friday March 2, 2007 6:12PM; Updated: Saturday March 3, 2007 11:26AM
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Kevin Love
Kevin Love's love of basketball started when he was just a young child.
Photo© Louis Lopez / Cal Sport Media
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SI.com: Most of the players you mentioned had long since retired before you were even born. How old were you when you first started watching these tapes?

Love: I was about 4 or 5, but of course it's going to take you a little while to understand it. I started grasping it when I was in the third or fourth grade, and like every kid, you'd go outside and countdown, "10, 9, 8, 7..." and I would do that stuff and go to the gym when my brother was practicing and go against guys who were three years older than me and just practice all that stuff. My dad likes to say when other kids were watching Big Bird, I was watching Larry Bird and it's totally right.

SI.com: Your dad tapes a lot of your games, setting up his camera in the stands. Do you watch those tapes fairly often?

Love: Absolutely. I watch them and see what I can do better. After a game I'll go home and ask my dad what he saw and then ask my coaches what I can do better and then I watch the tape and see for myself. Coach Shoff is getting on me about defense right now, so I'm trying to work on that and step my game up but I always watch tape at home and look at what I could have done better and see how I can improve my game.

SI.com: Your dad, Stan, played in the NBA for four years and played with the likes of Unseld, Jerry West and Connie Hawkins. How did that help you become the player you are today?

Love: Basketball is just tuned into my blood. The game comes easy to me. I've always loved the game, I've always loved studying the game and it's always been apart of me. That just comes from having an old-school game like my dad had. He taught me that with how the game is evolving now you need to have all aspects of the game down and so many players just want to run and jump and dunk and that's all they want to do but when I look at the game now I want to emulate guys who are fundamentally sound, like Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitski and Tim Duncan.

SI.com: You have an interesting mix of players on your team with you, Rick Adelman's son, Patrick, and Danny Ainge's nephew, Landon. How has the basketball lineage you have helped you guys.

Love: Coach Adelman has actually helped out me and the team, and it's just been great having Pat on the team because he knows the game so well and he'll call out a few things in practice. With Landon, he just has that Ainge blood in him. Danny was a three-sport All-American in high school and Landon is a lot like that, he's just so athletic.

SI.com: You committed to UCLA last year. What was the draw there?

Love: I was born in Santa Monica, Calif., which is right by Westwood, and I got that California blood in me. I'm happy to be going home, it's going to be fun. I have a lot of family down there, so the support is going to be huge next year.

SI.com: Ben Howland had been recruiting you even before you were in high school. How instrumental was he in your choice to play at UCLA?

Love: Coach Howland is really the main reason I'm going there. He's a great guy and a great coach and I like to surround myself with quality people. Also, Donny Daniels and Kerry Keating, his two assistant coaches, were huge and they helped recruit me. I also got to sit down and talk to Coach (John) Wooden when I made my decision. He's helped with the tradition so much with 11 national championships. I just feel great that I get to follow in that tradition and hopefully help UCLA win another national championship next season.

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