Love and Stanback made it official yesterday by sending in their LOI to UCLA. It allowed Coach Howland to officially gush about his most prized recruit in his already successful tenure in Westwood:
Love is the best recruit Howland has landed & in his coaching career.
Love is so skilled and polished, Howland wasn't shy about comparing one aspect of Love's game to Bill Walton, and sounded delighted UCLA could get two seasons from the 6-foot-10 center before he jumps to the NBA.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to coach what I think is the best player in the country coming out of high school this year," Howland said.
"He is a special talent. He's is an incredible player, an incredible competitor and has unbelievable skill level for his size. He's a great passer. Not a good passer. When I say great passer, I mean great passer - unbelievable ability to outlet the basketball."
Scouts said Love has great footwork, keen basketball instincts and the ability to score well in the low post. He averaged 29 points and 17 rebounds as a junior last season at Lake Oswego High.
"He has great hands; unbelievable hands and touch," Howland said. "His ability to throw outlet passes over the top of a group of guys is second to none. He'll be the best outlet passer that anyone has seen around here since Bill Walton, that's for sure. And I don't say these things lightly."
Love, who gave an oral commitment to UCLA in July, set an Oregon state record with 813points in his junior year of high school and is considered by a variety of scouting services to be the best prep post player in the nation. Pucin has more on Love including how Howland beat out UNC's Roy Williams (one of the best recruiters in any college game) for the committment of Love: Love, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center from Lake Oswego, Ore., was the object of an intense recruiting battle that had Howland facing off against, among others, North Carolina's Roy Williams.
But in the end, Howland won out. Love verbally committed to UCLA weeks ago and on Wednesday, the first day high school seniors could sign a national letter of intent during the early signing period, he made it official.
Among the top high school basketball recruiting sites, Love was ranked No. 3 by Scout.com and No. 7 by Rivals.com.
Whether it is one year or two before Love leaves Westwood for the NBA doesn't matter to Howland. "You go after the best players in the country," the UCLA coach said. "I've recruited him since eighth grade. He's an unselfish kid and the best player in the country. You take him for how long you can get him."
And luckily for us we have one of the best coaches in the country going after these best players in country. Not to be forgotten Howland also got a committment from local star Chase Stanback:
UCLA also received a commitment from Los Angeles Fairfax High's Chace Stanback, a 6-7, 190-pound forward. Stanback signed his letter-of-intent in a small ceremony at the high school. Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani, who also coached Bruins forward Josh Shipp, said Stanback didn't mind taking a back seat, publicity-wise, to Love. "Chase knows what kind of quality post player Kevin is," Kitani said. "Chace is very happy to be playing with him."
Now Chase is not coming in with as much hype as Kevin (no one can). But keep in mind neither did Shipp or Luuuuuuuuc when they sent in LOI to play for the best coach in today's game. I can't wait to see Chase and Kevin in home whites. Welcome guys.
Thank you Ben Howland. You are proving every single day what winning the right way is all about in Westwood. Perhaps a certain colleague of yours on other side of Morgan Center is taking notes (and not just shoving it down his pants)