Love Talks Gaming, Health
While Kevin Love was on the other end of the phone to talk primarily about being selected for the cover of EA Sports' NCAA Basketball 2009, he answered questions pertaining both to the game and to his game.
Here are some conversational highlights as Kevin addressed me and the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.
Love explained why he was chosen for the cover instead of one of the top four picks in the NBA Draft (Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo and Russell Westbrook) by citing UCLA's brand recognition and the team's highly successful season culminated by the run to the Final Four. He explained that Beasley and Mayo's teams didn't do as well, and that while Rose had a great run to the championship game, Memphis doesn't have the same recognition. Fair enough.
Love doesn't love the actual image on the cover, but is satisfied that he at least looks intense and is heading to the hoop. A smart kid, Love mentioned all of the new features (such as game tempo control) without being prompted. EA must have liked that (another reason he was chosen?). He explained that if you played with UCLA, your team would have a grind it out style just as the Bruins do, but if you chose Memphis you'd be flying up and down the court.
He's not actually IN the game, as he's obviously playing for the Wolves this year, not UCLA. That's common, however, in college video games. Reggie Bush was on EA's football cover in a USC jersey while playing for New Orleans. Right?
In the 2008 version, at least, Love said he dunked much more than he does in games.
There are few things as cool to a self-described "gamer" like Love to grace an actual game cover after growing up studying who was on the cover of his favorite games. "How many people can say they were on the cover of a video game?" he asked.
I asked Love what kinds of numbers he'd put up if he played a full game with himself: About 40 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists. He'd try for the triple-double every game, and of course take way more shots than anyone else. But even in this answer you get the sense that Love can't stand letting rebounds go to anyone else. For example, if Love takes a shot with Westbrook, he'll switch back to Kevin Love in the game so he can attack the offensive glass. Telling.
Zgoda asked the Beach Boy nephew whom he used to play with in past editions, and Love answered UCLA or UNC, the two schools he considered most heavily before opting for California.
In the 2009 version, Love may play with for Memphis or Tennessee, as he enjoys the up-tempo style.
Love said EA Sports had better get him a free copy of the NBA 2009 version, so that he can simulate a full season with the Wolves.
Zgoda turned the questioning to actual basketball after about 10 minutes, first asking Love about his achilles. "Everything is great," Love said. "It's 100 percent. "I'll be in Minnesota on Saturday night." The achilles strain kept him from working out with Team USA after Summer League was over, and Love said he was "pretty upset about it." However, he felt like he developed some good relationships and looks forward to the future there. He emphasized again that he's now at full strength and has been spending a lot of time in the gym.
I asked Love about his comment to Al Jefferson (Love saw Jefferson and Rashad McCants last Saturday) that Big Al would love playing with Love. "Obviously I'm going to have to earn my spot," Love said, "But he's going to love playing with me because I haven't played with a great big man before ... and I can make the game easier for him and hopefully he can for me as well. I also told him we'd be fighting for rebounds."
Zgoda asked Love about his weight, and the former Bruin said it's about where it was earlier this summer (much slimmer than in college). He mentioned that he's been told me numerous people not to come into camp peaking, but to allow your body some room for improvement so it doesn't tire out.
And finally on Mike Miller, the other key part of Love's trade to Minnesota for O.J. Mayo and Co. "He's unbelievable," Love said. "I was in Minneapolis and saw him shooting. He hit 56-of-57 threes on the move. He demands so much from himself out of a workout just from a shooting aspect that I think he's a great player who's going to add great things to this team."
We'll have more with Love next week as he arrives at Target Center to start practicing with the team.