Love earns player of year award

Kevin Love was named’s player of the year. The press release is below.

BOSTON (MA) — Kevin Love, the Pac-10 Freshman and Player of the Year, has been named the National Most Valuable Player.

Kevin has had an outstanding season and has exceeded my expectations, which were high, says UCLA head coach Ben Howland. He is a great player and a great teammate and is certainly deserving of the accolades he has earned.

The 6-foot-10 Love has already turned a phenomenal rookie season. One of just twenty-one players nationally to average a double-double with nearly 18 points and close to 11 rebounds per game, Love is one of only two freshmen (with Michael Beasley, Kansas State) to achieve this mark.

Eight freshmen rank among the top 100 in the nation in scoring, but only Love has scored in double figures in every game (38).

He is without question the best post player in college basketball, says CollegeInsider.coms Matt Drake. He has tremendous footwork, which enables him to be in position to catch and score. Hes also an outstanding passer and he has a great feel for the game. Hes the best player in college basketball.

Love became the first UCLA player in over thirty years to grab twenty or more rebounds when he hauled in 21 in the win at Oregon State (Jan. 26). The last player to grab 20 or more rebounds was David Greenwood, in 1978.

His 406 rebounds are a UCLA freshman record (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, 318 in 39 games in 2006). He is also seventh on the singe-season list and is just the fourth Bruin to grab 400 or more rebounds in a season (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it three times, Bill Walton did it twice and Willie Naulls did it once).

Loves 17.6 scoring average is the second highest ever by a Bruin freshman (Don MacLean, 577, 18.6 ppg in 1989).

Kevin Loves 669 points rank No. 11 on UCLAs single season list and are the most since 1995, when Ed OBannon scored 673.

Love, who was also named to the All-America team and was one of 16 players named to the Freshmen All-America squad, is only the second freshman in league history to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.