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Caleb Love opens up about path to Arizona, relationship with Andre Iguodala in Q&A

caleb-love-arizona-wildcats-basketball-interview-fox-sports-college-basketball Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona men’s basketball’s Caleb Love gave Fox Sports a glimpse inside the Wildcats program in a recent Q&A published Thursday.

Love told Fox Sports’ John Fanta that Arizona’s toughness has contributed to the team’s 8-0 start to the season. Arizona will put its perfect record on the line Saturday when it faces the Purdue Boilermakers in Indianapolis.

“We’re the toughest team in the country,” Love said. “The way we play, how hard we play on the defensive end, we work on that every day and hold ourselves to that high standard of defending. We want to contest everything and get after people. On offense, coach always says ‘let it rip.’”

Love, a senior transfer from North Carolina, opened up about the process that led him to Tucson. Love transferred out of Chapel Hill after the 2022-23 season, which saw the Tar Heels go from preseason No. 1 to missing the NCAA Tournament. Love originally committed to Michigan, but the school wouldn't accept his academic credits, forcing him to look for another home.

“It was tough for me because the communication wasn’t really there with them after I committed, and then it kind of dialed down,” Love said. “So that was different for me because I wasn’t really hearing from the coaches like I was during the recruiting process. So, some antennas went up and my parents and I were concerned. So, we had to ask, ‘what was going on?’ Once we heard the news that they couldn’t admit me, it put me in a tough spot because it was later in the process, and it was tougher to find schools that didn’t already have their full team assembled. I’m just grateful, and everything happens for a reason. Coach (Tommy) Lloyd and Arizona had a spot for me, and I’m just grateful to be here.”

When Lloyd reached out, Love was familiar with Lloyd’s reputation for developing players from his days at Gonzaga. Arizona assistant coach Steve Robinson previously coached Love at UNC, strengthening the connection.

“I had a great relationship with (Robinson), and a comfort level that made me know I could trust somebody there [Arizona] before I even made the move,” Love said. “Once I connected with him, I knew it was meant to be. Those conversations were basically how Coach Lloyd could help me get to where I wanted to get to, and help me improve my game, and then how I could help the team as well. I felt like I was the missing piece.”

Love said Arizona’s culture separates the program from other schools. He pointed to a summer activity where Lloyd put players in little groups of teammates they may not regularly hang out with.

“He put two or three teammates together and you have to shoot with them, work out and get something to eat with them,” Love said.

Love also said the program assigns each player with a with a former player who serves as a mentor. Love’s mentor is none other than Andre Iguodala.

“He’s given me a lot (of advice),” Love said. “He’s told me about picking my spots, knowing when to attack and when to create. He wants me to control my emotions and energy, because you know how the game goes. You may get a little too hyped or let the crowd get you out of our game, or things like that. He always tells me to be poised and be like a pro, to approach the game like a pro because that’s where I want to get to.”

Love was asked what he wants his legacy to be when he leaves Arizona.

“A comeback story. Somebody that didn’t quit, that went through all the trials and tribulations and fought through everything, and beat the odds when the whole world was against him. He stayed true to himself.

“And more than anything, I want to win a national championship for Arizona Basketball. I feel like we’ve got the team to do it, and the coaching staff to do it. That’s what I want my legacy to be.”

Check out the full Q&A here.