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Love is a Bruin (it's official)

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Ben Howland pulls of what could be the most important recruiting coup for UCLA hoops since the day Bill Walton committed to Coach Wooden.

Love is headed to Westwood. He just announced moments ago.


Kevin Love digs blue and gold (Photo: CNNSI)

WELCOME KEVIN LOVE.

Here is the newest Bruin to OregonLive.com (HT to True Blue and Gold):

?UCLA just feels right,? Love said. ?It?s hard to explain, but I just know, 100 percent, UCLA is the place I want to be. When it came down to it, the things that really matter to me ? having my family close, having a great tradition and stuff like that ? are all there. I had to pick UCLA.?

Love?s decision will not become official until November, during the NCAA early-signing period, but he said he has no intention of changing his mind. When he signs, the Bruins will land a first-team Parade magazine all-American, a two-time reigning Oregon Class 4A player of the year and a consensus top-five player among the Class of 2007.

Many recruiting experts believe Love ? who averaged 29.0 points and nearly 17 rebounds for Lake Oswego as a junior last season, when he led the Lakers to their first state title ? is the No. 1 prospect in his class. [...]

Coaches cannot discuss recruits before they sign letter of intents, so Howland could not comment on Love?s decision. But for some time, Love has been Howland?s No. 1 target for 2007. Howland started his recruitment of Love when Love was in the eighth grade and took an unofficial visit to the Los Angeles.

Love, who is widely praised for his rebounding, passing ability and strong post play, will attend a school that has a strong history of big men ? a fact that was not lost on Love.

?UCLA has featured the two best big men in college basketball history and that tradition is a really big deal to me,? Love said. ?If I can fit into that system and be a part of that tradition and be a part of the past legacy, then that?s going to be huge.

?If people are going to mention me in the same breath as Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, that?s awesome and it?s a blessing. But if I can do half of what those guys did, then I?ll be set. I know the expectations are going to be high, but I?m looking to go in there and play as well as I can and as hard as I can and have some fun.?
What a wonderful day for UCLA basketball.

GO BRUINS.