Position: Combo Guard
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 200 lbs
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
North Carolina Tar Heels
Caleb Love is one of the top NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball players, starring at the guard position for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He is a junior in his 3rd season with the Tar Heels, having originally been recruited by legendary coach Roy Williams. Love is currently projected to be a 2nd round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft but could go higher if he continues to develop his long range shooting and improve his offensive efficiency.
Recruitment and Freshman Year
Caleb Love could have played at almost any top college, with Kansas, Louisville, and Missouri drawing particular interest. However, he eventually chose North Carolina because of the opportunity to be the lead guard of a national championship team.
Guards historically have flourished in North Carolina’s free-flowing offensive system, providing the best possible environment for Love to further develop his impressive skill set. Also, Love was greatly impacted by the family culture environment on his recruiting visit, which helped to make up his mind about playing for North Carolina.
Although Caleb Love started 26 of 29 games his freshman season, both he and the Tar Heels in general had their fair share of growing pains. Love shot just 31.6% from the field, 26.6% from 3-point range, and averaged over 3 turnovers per game.
North Carolina struggled with inconsistent play most of the season, finishing with an 18-11 record, a distant 6th in the ACC. They were then eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as an 8 seed, losing badly to Wisconsin 85-62.
Sophomore Year and 2022 NCAA Tournament Run
Love’s sophomore season would prove to be much more successful, both individually and for the Tar Heels. He improved significantly under 1st-year coach Hubert Davis, increasing his FG% from 31.6% to 37.1%, his 3P% from 26.6% to 36%, and his FT% from 80.8% to 86.3%.
He also improved his PPG average from 10.5 to 15.9, led the team in minutes, and played in all 39 games. The Tar Heels themselves finished 2nd in the ACC with a 15-5 record, but their 24-9 overall record only warranted them an 8 seed.
The Tar Heels would shock the nation by going on an improbable run to the Final Four and championship game as an 8 seed, with impressive wins over #1 seed Baylor in the 2nd round, and their arch rivals the #2 seeded Duke Blue Devils in the Final Four. Love’s performance during the NCAA Tournament was inconsistent, exemplified perfectly by his 2 games in the Final Four.
Against Duke, Love was impressive, scoring 28 points on 11-20 shooting and leading North Carolina to one of the biggest wins in school history. However, 2 days later in the championship game against Kansas, Love shot an anemic 5-24 from the floor and 1-8 from 3-point range, a contributing factor for North Carolina’s 72-69 loss.
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2022-2023 NCAA Stats
|MINUTES PER GAME||36.2|
|POINTS PER GAME||16.9|
|FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE||39.9|
|THREE POINT PERCENTAGE||29.0|
|FREE THROW PERCENTAGE||77.6|
|REBOUNDS PER GAME||4.4|
|ASSIST PER GAME||3.7|
|TURNOVERS PER GAME||2.7|
|STEALS PER GAME||1.5|
|BLOCKS PER GAME||0.3|
2022-2023 Season and Beyond
Anyone who thinks that Caleb Love’s championship game struggles would carry over to his junior season can think again. Through the team’s first 16 games, Love is averaging 16.9 PPG, 4 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 1.3 SPG, all while leading the team in minutes played. Although the Tar Heels themselves are currently ranked just outside the top 25, hindered by a 4-game losing streak earlier this season, they have come on strong and will undoubtedly be a major factor during the NCAA Tournament once again.
Love’s NBA Draft Projection
While Love himself is not projected to be an NBA Draft prospect lottery pick, he could catapult himself into the first round of the 2023 NBA draft if he continues to improve his overall offensive efficiency and his long range shooting.
A few big performances in the NCAA Tournament this year could also help his draft stock. Regardless, Love has proven to be an incredibly successful collegiate basketball player for North Carolina, another elite guard for a school that has produced plenty of them.
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Caleb Love Shoes and Jersey
Love spent his sophomore campaign wearing various variations of the Air Jordan 11 shoes (Here’s the affiliate link to purchase a pair of Michael Jordan’s iconic sneaker, the Jordan 11, which was worn both in “Space Jam” and during the Chicago Bulls’ historic 72-win season.). After scoring just three points in the first half of Carolina’s 2022 NCAA tournament sweet 16 match up against UCLA, he made a memorable shoe change at halftime. Love switched into the all-blue “Pantones” of Carolina and scored 27 points in the second half to help the heels win.
Latest Caleb Love News Feed
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