Report: North Carolina transfer Caleb Love considering Gonzaga, Texas, Arizona after reopening recruitment
May 24, 2023 Updated Wed., May 24, 2023 at 9:55 p.m.
Since Caleb Love’s name resurfaced in the transfer portal after a decommitment from Michigan a few weeks ago, several higher-profile schools have been in pursuit of the standout North Carolina guard.
Gonzaga is reportedly one of those, emerging as a potential suitor for Love, according to a report on Wednesday from 247Sports.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi.
Other programs Love is reportedly looking at include Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Louisville, Texas and UConn, but sources close to the junior guard have suggested he’s focused on Gonzaga, Arizona and Texas.
The Zags have made a few important additions via the transfer portal, adding Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard, Wyoming’s Graham Ike and Eastern Washington’s Steele Venters, but another player in the backcourt could be helpful, especially if West Coast Conference Sixth Man of the Year Malachi Smith decides to keep his name in the NBA draft.
The deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their name from the draft is Wednesday. Smith and senior forward Anton Watson have yet to announce whether they’ll remain in the draft or return to Gonzaga for the 2023-24 season.
If Smith elects to move on to the NBA, Gonzaga’s backcourt would feature just two players with college experience: Nembhard, who started in all 37 games for Creighton last season, and Nolan Hickman, a junior who averaged 7.1 points and 3.3 assists as the Bulldogs’ starting point guard.
According to 247Sports.com, “Gonzaga emerged a bit over the course of the weekend” as a possible destination for Love, who originally committed to Michigan on April 7. Love lacked an adequate amount of transferable credits to meet admission standards, CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander reported.
Love’s planning to make an announcement soon, but his recruitment has been kept relatively quiet, per 247Sports.com. With college basketball in the middle of a recruiting dead period, Love is unable to take official campus visits.
Among uncommitted transfers, the three-year North Carolina starter is one of the top players available in the portal.
Love started in 95 of 101 games over three seasons with the Tar Heels, helping lead them to the 2022 national championship game.
The guard scored 13 points but shot 5 of 24 from the field in UNC’s 72-69 title game loss to Kansas.
A five-star recruit who was considered the seventh overall recruit in the 2020 class, Love averaged 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Tar Heels as a junior, but watched his 3-point and free-throw percentages dip.
Love made 36% on 3-pointers and 86% from the free-throw line in 2021-22 before shooting 29% on 3-pointers and 76% from the line in 2022-23 for the Tar Heels, who went 20-13, finished seventh in the ACC and failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
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