Caleb Love embarks on a new journey as he prepares to start his college basketball career at Arizona, following three years of playing for North Carolina. In an exclusive interview with Love in Tucson, he delved into his decision to join Arizona, the challenges he faced at North Carolina, and much more.
Jon Rothstein: Reflecting on the past year, what would have been your response if someone told you that you’d be playing for Arizona in the 2023-24 season?
Caleb Love: I would have thought they were crazy (laughs). I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be here. The teammates and coaches have welcomed me with open arms since day one.
Rothstein: Initially, you committed to Michigan as a transfer. When that fell through, what drew you to Arizona?
Love: The style of play is what attracted me. It’s fast-paced, with great spacing on the court. The team has versatile players like Pelle Larsson, Keshad Johnson, Kylan Boswell, and a talented point guard in Jaden Bradley. We also have exceptional big men in Oumar Ballo and Motiejus Krivas. Additionally, the culture and team chemistry that Coach Tommy Lloyd is building here is unparalleled. It just feels like the perfect fit for me.
Rothstein: Why do you think things didn’t go as planned for you at North Carolina after coming so close to winning the national title in 2022?
Love: I believe we became complacent. After reaching the national title game, I don’t think we had the same drive and connectivity as a team. It wasn’t just one player or coach, but collectively, we lacked the necessary cohesion. Throughout the season, we made attempts to rectify the situation, especially after a four-game losing streak early on, but unfortunately, we were never able to find our rhythm. I believe everything happens for a reason, and it was just time for me to move on.
Rothstein: At a prestigious program like North Carolina, every possession is heavily scrutinized. Your shot selection, in particular, received a lot of criticism. How does that motivate you for the upcoming season at Arizona?
Love: I want to showcase the true essence of who I am, both as a player and as a person. I acknowledge that I, like everyone else, have flaws. Did I take some questionable shots or make poor decisions? Absolutely. I’m human. I could have definitely performed better. However, with the system we have at Arizona, I don’t feel the pressure to take bad shots. I know my teammates will find me, and I will look for opportunities to involve them as well. I’m excited to express myself authentically and come into my own.
Rothstein: What do you believe you’ll be able to demonstrate at Arizona that you couldn’t showcase before?
Love: I believe I can truly showcase the leadership qualities that define me. During my time at North Carolina, Coach Hubert Davis made Armando Bacot the focal point and leader of the team. I embraced that role, but now, with many younger players on this team, I feel I can guide and teach them valuable lessons to ensure a successful season.
Laura Davis covers the world of basketball with precision. Her articles explore NBA and college basketball, offering game analysis, player profiles, and highlights. Laura’s passion for hoops is evident in her comprehensive basketball coverage.