On Simmons’ 11/17 podcast, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love came on to talk about a myriad of things, including his experience playing with Russell Westbrook in college (UCLA) and Kevin Durant during the World Championships.
The B.S. Report
The transcript is edited for readability.
Simmons: You played with Westbrook while at UCLA, and I know you thought he was good, and we’ve talked about him. But did you expect that, this fast, this guy would be a top 15 guy?
Love: I don’t know if I expected it this fast, but I can say I did expect it. We were roommates in college, he was probably the first guy I met on campus who befriended me at UCLA on the first day I was there. He was always that guy, when I thought I was waking up early and getting my time in before practice, or you know, 7, 6:45 in the morning or whatever it was in the weight room, he was always there. When I was going to get some extra shooting in, he was always there. And I just thought to myself, “wow, this kid is gonna be special one day.” And I kept telling everybody that summer when we were playing up at the men’s gym at UCLA.
…And I saw him going against Baron, and going against Earl Watson, and certain guys who spend their time in LA in the off-season…he was doing fantastic…he was rebounding the ball, putting back dunks off of drop steps… even his 15-18 foot pull-up game is starting to look pretty nice. He’s a tremendous athlete, a tremendous player. He never had any enemies at UCLA. I wish I could say the same (laughs). He was the kind of guy that everybody liked, and like I mentioned, a gregarious personality and fun to be around.
Simmons: Durant was clearly the alpha dog by the last four games. When did that, in the practices and stuff, when did that fully come out? Was it clear from the first day? Was it like the 10th day? When did it happen?
Love: I think it was evident from day one in camp. We were at UNLV, that was our first training camp. It was kind of evident that he was gonna be our leader. Whether he was our vocal leader or not. I think that Lamar (Odom) and Chauncy (Billups) and the veteran guys really stepped up and were the vocal leaders. But Kevin led by his play and by his example. It was kind of evident from day one that he was gonna be our go-to scorer and he was the guy that was gonna eventually be playing the most minutes, and I mentioned Colangelo and Krzyzewski, they were gonna put guys around him that would help us be the best. But he was like I said, Alpha Dog from day one, and none of the returning players from the 2008 redeem team.