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Friday, December 8, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Prep Basketball | No stopping power of Love

Seattle Times staff reporter

According to the hardwood hype, Lake Oswego's Kevin Love is the most dominant big man in high-school basketball today, with an NBA-ready 6-foot-10, 255-pound body and an outlet pass that rivals anybody's in the country, professional or otherwise.

He possesses a sixth sense for rebounding, his ballhandling repertoire includes behind-the-back passes and he makes three-pointers with ease.

Washington basketball fans can judge for themselves at 5 p.m. Saturday in the marquee game of the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge at Bellevue Community College, when Lake Oswego of Oregon meets Franklin, Washington's top-ranked Class 4A team.

Both schools won state titles last year and both were ranked by Sports Illustrated as the top teams in their respective states going into this season. SI ranks Lake Oswego No. 11 in the nation.

Saturday's eight-game schedule includes appearances by several other teams ranked in The Seattle Times top 10, including Class 3A No. 1 Rainier Beach, as well as a rematch of last year's Class 1A title game, Bellevue Christian versus Brewster.

Individually, the day features a quartet of Division I college recruits: Beach's DeAngelo Jones (New Mexico State), O'Dea's Jamelle McMillan (Arizona State), Franklin's Venoy Overton (USC) and Roosevelt girls star Mackenzie Argens (Washington).

The headliner is Lake Oswego's Love, a two-time Oregon player of the year and an All-American who committed to UCLA this summer. His father is Stan Love, who played in the NBA, and his uncle is Mike Love of the Beach Boys.

Hoop Challenge


Game 1 Girls, Newport vs. Inglemoor, 9 a.m.

Game 2 Boys, Bothell vs. Vashon, 10:30 a.m.

Game 3 Boys, Bellevue Christian vs. Brewster, noon

Game 3 Boys, Garfield vs. Rainier Beach, 2 p.m.

Game 5 Girls, Lake Oswego vs. Roosevelt, 3:30 p.m.

Game 6 Boys, Lake Oswego vs. Franklin, 5 p.m.

Game 7 Boys, Kentwood vs. O'Dea, 7 p.m.

Game 8 Boys, Inglemoor vs. Gig Harbor, 8:30

Love played in the Les Schwab Challenge in Bellevue last year, dominating O'Dea with 38 points and 19 rebounds.

Some speculated that Love would let up in his senior year, having resolved the college question. But in the Lakers' season opener, Love lit up Lincoln of Portland with 38 points, 28 rebounds and seven assists.

"You'll see, his body is way different than it was last year," said Lake Oswego coach Mark Shoff. "I think he was still in a boy's body. Now he's a young man. With that, there's extra strength, he's more coordinated. He's awfully, awfully explosive for his size."

Love said he's still hungry. He says he realizes critics say he has reached his ceiling, or that he only dominates because of his size.

"I know I haven't made anything of myself yet," Love said. "I feel I've got so much to work on: my athleticism, my quickness, getting rim-to-rim, getting in shape. ... Individually, I'm trying, of course, to be three-time state player of the year. I'm also trying to be national player of the year."

Franklin coach Jason Kerr is impressed.

"You can run into some 6-10 lugs and be able to challenge them," Kerr said. "But to be able to run into someone who's 6-10, who runs the floor like he does, who can shoot outside, inside, be as athletic and coordinated as he is ... those kids are an exception.

"The key to success with Kevin is just trying to survive on the glass. You could go out on a limb and say he's unstoppable."

The stop in Bellevue is just part of a season-long, multi-state Love showcase. Lake Oswego plays at Kennedy in Burien on Friday night, and also travels to California for nonleague games against top programs Mater Dei and Compton Centennial, and then to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota top-10 Osseo.

Love isn't the only noteworthy Lake Oswego player. The roster also includes Pat Adelman, son of former NBA coach Rick Adelman, and Landon Ainge, nephew of Boston Celtics great Danny Ainge.

Tickets for the event are $10.

Michael Ko: 206-515- 5653 or mko@seattletimes.com

Top of the list
ESPN.com makes Kevin Love the top-ranked high-school boys basketball player in the Class of 2007. The top five, plus the top-ranked players from this state:
No. Player High School Pos. Ht. College
1. Kevin Love Lake Oswego, Ore. C 6-10 UCLA
2. Eric Gordon N.Central (Indianapolis) SG 6-5 Indiana
3. O.J. Mayo Huntington, W.Va. SG 6-4 USC
4. Kyle Singler South Medford, Ore. SF 6-8 Duke
5. Derrick Rose Chicago PG 6-4 Memphis
82. Steven Gray Bainbridge SG 6-4 Gonzaga
99. Jamelle McMillan O'Dea PG 6-2 Arizona St.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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