Love could follow Mayo to Los Angeles

Updated: July 25, 2006, 1:28 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- The top two players in the class of 2007 could be heading to Los Angeles to boost the USC-UCLA rivalry to another level.

Maybe.

O.J. Mayo out of North Hill College (Ohio) High told the USC staff that he's coming for the 2007-08 season but has yet to say it publicly. He could sign with the Trojans as early as November.

Kevin Love
AP Photo/Thomas BoydKevin Love is one of the most talented prospects in his class.

Here, late Tuesday afternoon, Kevin Love, the 6-foot-9 forward out of Lake Oswego, Ore., will announce his college choice at a 4:30 p.m. ET news conference in the Foothill High auditorium. He's considered, with Mayo, one of the top players in the class.

Late Monday night, the consensus among multiple sources was that he would go to UCLA over North Carolina. UCLA coaches Ben Howland and Kerry Keating and North Carolina coaches Roy Williams and Steve Robinson were all positioned in the Coronado High gym to watch his Southern California All Stars beat the Texas Blue Chips during the elimination of the Reebok Big Time Tournament.

But just when it appeared Love's choice was known, he tossed a bit of a curveball out after the game.

"I woke up a couple of days in a row and knew what I was doing,'' he told ESPN.com. "I just got a feel of where I wanted to go and I'm going to shock a lot of people.''

How so?

"People keep saying this and that, and people may be surprised,'' Love said.

The common comment from coaches watching Love is how much they love his hands, feet and overall feel for the game in the low post. He also has shown he can hit the mid-range jumper at times. Based on the lack of true proven big men in college, Love would likely flourish.

If Love were to go to UCLA, he would be the featured big man. The expectation is that would be the same at North Carolina, assuming that sophomore Tyler Hansbrough would declare for the NBA draft. There is also the possibility that incoming freshman forward Brandan Wright may only be in Chapel Hill for one or two seasons.

His father, Stan Love, a former Oregon and NBA player, said only Monday night that "he's 17, so how do you know what they're going to do.''

But one thing is certain: Love is another one of the likely seven players in the class of 2007 that could be destined for one-and-done status before going to the NBA. The list includes Love, Mayo, Bill Walker, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Michael Beasley.

"We've got a lot of star power in this class,'' Love said.

The Love family has enlisted the support of a public relations specialist for Tuesday's news conference.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

ALSO SEE