By Kevin McCarthy (special to CRCHawks.com)
The Beatles once sang "all you need is love." These lyrics, which were also the song title, weren't the musical background accompanying a Mitchell Love recruiting promo but the sentiment certainly applies. That's because the 6-foot-2 sophomore guard for Cosumnes River College (CRC) earned the Most Valuable Player award in the Big 8 Conference this season as well as First Team All State honors.
With Love running the show, CRC posted a 12-2 league record, went 23-8 overall with a 9-1 in the last 10 games. In 33.5 minutes per outing, he provided 13.4 points, 4.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds plus the willingness to handle the ball as the clock ticked down.
About his desire to be front and center, Love explained, "I've always been the one who spoke up. Leadership is one of my best skills." Add to that "playing one-on-one, I can get any shot I want whether it be on a pick-and-roll or isolations. Also being able to create for others."
Along the way, two surprises took place. "I just wanted to win league. I hadn't given being MVP or all state any thought. I wasn't having a good season until we played Sac City at Sac City. After that game, something clicked and I just started playing at the MVP level."
Love also cites his basketball IQ as a primary asset. "I grew up watching basketball with my Uncle Larry. You see certain situations and realize what to do. He always talks to me about how the little things matter. And just making every possession count."
But it wasn't a situation of walking right in and taking control. After Burbank High, he attended St. Ignatios Prep School in South Carolina for a year. Upon returning, Love enrolled at CRC.
"It was a winning team, close to home and my best friend David [Straughter] was going to play there. I thought that we could come and make things happen right away."
He averaged 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists that season. "I didn't play a lot, I was going to have to come along because there were guys ahead of me. I knew I had to gain my coaches trust."
Two particular basketball moments stand out the most for Love. "At Sierra this year, we were losing at halftime. I played miserably. I was a negative on the court, like playing 5-on-4. They were denying me from the tip and it was annoying me. I told my team at halftime, 'I'm going to step up. I'm going to score 20 and we are going to win.' Nobody believed me. They looked at me like I was crazy." He finished with 20 points and seven assists. "I understood what I did in the first half and I needed to switch that."
The other cherished memory is from high school. "One of my friends, Emmanuel Pope was saying he was going to dunk on somebody in a high school summer league game. Near the end of the game, he made a steal at halfcourt and started dribbling slow towards the basket. There was a dude with him. It was like Emmanuel was baiting him. Emmanuel jumped from the third line and dunked. He stepped over him [the opponent] and looked over at me. It is one of the most unexpected dunks I've ever seen and still fresh in my mind."
Love's life goal is to become an electrician and his college major will reflect that desire.
As for recruiting, "I'm a California guy but I'll go anywhere. Texas, Florida, New York, Idaho, Wyoming, it all depends on the school."
Expect him to bring a spark to whichever four-year college he selects.