It was clear from the tip that Love was the shining star amongst an immensely talented group of prospects. Although Mater Dei boasted six high major division one recruits, Mr. Love proved to be too much to handle, leading his team to a 61-52 upset victory with his dominant inside play.
Kevin Love, 69, PF, Senior, Lake Oswego, Signed with UCLA
36 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks
Kevin Love put on a very good all-around display in his game against Mater Dei. He finished with 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and it was easy to see the impact he will make as a college player at UCLA.
From the start of the game, Love displayed his ability to throw the outlet pass, which will be unmatched on the college level. He always has the awareness to find a teammate down the court after a rebound, and on one occasion he threw an outlet pass before he hit the ground after jumping up to grab a rebound.
On the offensive end, Love has fantastic footwork in the post, and the patience to wait for the right time to go up with the ball. The thing that separates him from most other big men prospects is the ability to adjust and finish after taking contact. He often gets hit while going up for a layup off of a post move inside, but his strong frame takes the contact well, and he gives the ball a chance to go in just about every time. In addition to his finishing ability near the basket, Love can also hit a hook shot with either hand, and he has even displayed the ability to shoot the college three.
Defensively Love has good fundamentals, but also has some room for improvement. He knows when to body up, and when to try and block the shot. He pushes players very effectively out of the paint when fighting for position on defense as well. At this point, Love is effective as a shot blocker against smaller players, but he will need to work on his timing and vertical leap before he can constant block other elite big men.
Love looked slimmer in the game against Mater Dei, and looks 10 pounds lighter than he was on the AAU circuit over the summer. This has clearly helped his level of athleticism, which was noticed on a couple of block shots and dunks throughout the game. Despite this, Love still has a lot of room to improve on his body. It doesnt appear that hes ever spent a lot of time in the weight room, and his muscles lack the tone you see in a lot of NBA players. Despite this, he still is very strong on the basketball floor, as shown below with this video of him shattering the backboard with a dunk in a recent game.
Love will make a large impact from day 1 at UCLA. His ability to score, rebound, and play unselfishly will allow him to fit in perfectly with his teammates. In terms of NBA potential, Love lacks the ideal size for the NBA, but he will have some time to prove that his game can overcome the lack of size.
Taylor King, 67, SF, Senior, Mater Dei, Signed with Duke
12 points, 3-18 FG, 1-11 3PT
Mater Deis leading scorer at just over 28 points per game couldnt buy a bucket Saturday evening, He struggled no matter where he was on the floor, whether it be from beyond the arc, from the low post, or right at the rim. It was a bit of a deceptive performance for a first time fan watching King play, as it was by far the worst that I have seen him play in my fifteen plus times watching him in person.
While King played pretty terribly against Lake Oswego, there were quite a few things that could be taken away from his performance. First of all, the kid is incredibly confident and will keep shooting no matter how many shots he misses. This can be both good and bad, but when you have a player like King who has shooting range that extends to around 28 feet, Id say its a pretty good thing. His release is incredibly quick and fluid, allowing him to get up shots over taller, more athletic defenders on a consistent basis. Shooting is by far the biggest strength of Kings game, but he is a much more complete offensive player then many give him credit for. Taylor does an excellent job of using his size in the low post to exploit smaller defenders, and has shown the ability to finish around the cup with either hand.
On the downside, Taylor does struggle quite a bit on the defensive end. This is partially due to his subpar athletic ability, and partially due to the fact he doesnt exert any effort at all on the defensive end. Dukes excellent system defensive rotations will benefit him once he reaches Durham, While he can create his own shot off the catch via his excellent shot fake, he doesnt do an excellent job of creating much once he puts the ball on the floor for the first time. Passing is not one of the former UCLA commits strong suits either, as he looks to score each and every time he touches the rock, which results in relatively low assist numbers for King.
Fans must keep in mind that this was by far Kings worst game of the season, while his true talents were exhibited earlier in the week when he scored 32 points on Oak Hill Academy. We are looking at an incredibly talented player who at one time was ranked ahead of O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, and Co. as the top player in the class of 2007. Without a doubt there are some glaring weaknesses in Kings game, but draft fans should keep an eye on him because the NBA has shown over the year that they love 67 shooters, and this Duke signee could is one of the top two or three shooters in the class of 2007, if not the top perimeter marksman.
David Wear, 69, SF, Sophomore, Mater Dei
The next in Mater Deis long line of All Americans will surely be 69 sophomore stud David Wear, who along with his brother Travis, is considered a top 25 player in the class of 2009. Wear is currently second on Mater Dei in scoring, and plays primarily the role of small forward when out on the floor, even though he is a legit 69.
David displayed excellent touch from the perimeter, knocking down an open three pointer, hitting a pullup from 14 feet, and even making a steal and hitting a turnaround 19 foot jumper. He handled the ball well in the open floor, and showed remarkable coordination for such a tall wing prospect. On the low blocks, he struggled guarding Love due to the fact that the Lake Oswego star had about 60 pounds on Wear. He didnt back down however, attempting (and failing) to bang with Love on the low blocks.
Presently, the Wear twins look to be second only to Renardo Sidney and Jordan Hamilton as far as 2009 prospects are concerned in the state of California. David is quite reminiscent of a young Mike Dunleavy Jr., due to his advanced skill set and freakish size for a wing player.
Kamyron Brown, 61, PG, Mater Dei, Signed with Oregon
Brown was both quite productive, and very frustrating to watch at the same time against Lake Oswego. On one hand, he was incredibly aggressive on the offensive end, breaking down his man off the dribble each and every time he wanted to do so. He was quite creative in terms of finishing once he got in the lane, and showed off some pretty nice court vision on a few drive and dish plays. Then on the defensive end, he gave each and every single player from Lake Oswego he guarded fits with his hectic on the ball pressure.
On the other hand, it was frustrating to watch Kamyron dominate the ball so much throughout the game, considering that he was playing with five other high division one caliber players. It seemed as if he was looking to score first every time he touched the ball, which was quite odd considering that he is averaging over 9 assists per game on the year for Mater Dei.
Based on his play Saturday evening, Brown looks like he will be perfect for Oregons up and down, frantic style of play. His ability to quickness, ability to penetrate and dish, and creative scoring ability makes him somewhat of a poor mans Aaron Brooks, which is why Ernie Kent made it a point to lock up a player like Brown, who fits in his situation perfectly.
Travis Wear, 69, SF, Sophomore, Mater Dei
The other Wear twin, Travis, exhibited just as much potential as his brother, but wasnt quite as refined on the offensive end. He is incredibly long, moves his feet well, and gets out in the passing lanes freakishly for a player standing close to 610. On the offensive end, Wear showed off a very solid handle for a wing player, dribbling through traffic and making good decisions in the open court. Like his brother David, the perimeter skills that are possessed by such a tall player at such a young age are simply remarkable, and will only improve over the next two and a half years.
While Wear moves his feet awfully well on the defensive end, he is still incredibly weak physically, which can be expected out of a sophomore in high school. Kevin Love manhandled him inside, but then again, who doesnt Love do that to? Either way, we will likely see both of the Wear twins with their choice of nearly any school in the country when it is all said and done.
Andy Brown, 67, SG/SF, Sophomore, Mater Dei
For a player who is not heralded at all on the national level, the Mater Dei sophomore looked quite promising against Lake Oswego. He showed surprising quickness and perimeter skill for a 67 player, and actually was his teams starter at the shooting guard position. Brown was a surprisingly cerebral player for a sophomore, moving incredibly well without the ball and actually grasping the concept of team defense, both a rarity for a player so young in age. With only average development, we should still see Brown landing somewhere at the high division one level when it is all said and done.
Alex Jacobson, 71, C, Senior, Mater Dei, Signed with Arizona
Jacobson comes off the bench for Mater Dei, but will be attending Arizona. At this point he's considered a project, but he has the potential to be a solid player in college down the road. He stands a legit 7 feet off the ground, and has a decent frame that will need a lot of weight training. He displayed the ability to hit a 12 foot jumper against Lake Oswego, but his offensive game needs further development. Jacobson appears to have good touch inside, and a jump hook move would help him greatly at the college level. It will probably be two years before he can contribute as a regular part of the Arizona rotation, but he is the type of project that could pay off for Lute Olson.