One of the nation's most high-profile transfers has found a new home; he'll suit up for a group with championship aspirations. PIC: Caleb Love
After reported issues with transferring academic credits to Michigan, North Carolina transfer Caleb Love was on the hunt for a new team. It didn't take him long, however; within two weeks, he announced his intent to play for the Arizona Wildcats.
Love was arguably the most-talented player in the transfer portal this offseason. He was a former five-star recruit, and at one point there were significant talks of his college hoops legacy being no more than a one-and-done. As Sports Illustrated's Kevin Sweeney described it, Caleb Love had "incredible highs and disastrous lows" at North Carolina. It's no secret that Love was a major part of the Tar Heels' miraculous run to the 2022 NCAA Championship Game - he dropped 30 on UCLA in the Sweet 16, 28 on Duke in the Final Four to send Coach K home for good, and made more clutch baskets than were even imaginable.
Love's Achilles heal, though, were his bouts with what can be simplified to "streakiness." His shot selection was suspect throughout this past year at UNC. Some crucial decision-making mistakes called his basketball IQ into question by many pundits. Many point to his impulsiveness from beyond the arc as a key reason for North Carolina's historic fall from the preseason #1 to "first four out" this past year.
So, Tommy Lloyd and Arizona had a key decision to make - was Caleb Love worth it?
The off-the-cuff reaction calls this move into question. Why would Arizona, a young team hungry to stay relevant and to win more games in the NCAA Tournament - AND with National Championship aspirations - take a chance on a potentially detrimental addition of a guy with question marks on his fit? Although Azuolas Tubelis - one of the nation's top players last season - declared for the NBA Draft, and Kerr Kriisa will play for Bob Huggins at West Virginia next year, the Wildcats still have plenty of talent heading into next year's season. Oumar Ballo proved his worth as a reliable big-man. Jaden Bradley transferred in from Alabama. Kylan Boswell is poised to have a big sophomore year. This is a young team that needs structure, to be frank; and would Caleb Love fulfill that need?
It'll only make sense if Caleb Love buys into the system. If he accepts a role to not be "the guy" on this Arizona team, I do like this move. Arizona generally moved the ball very fast last year, finishing 13th out of 360+ teams in tempo and 10th in offensive efficiency. Caleb Love, a gunslinging three-point shooter with more raw talent than you can imagine, should do well in a system like this.
Arizona needs a home run. They've taken bets on some reliable pieces this year, but they swung for the fences with Caleb Love. Let's see how it plays out.