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Love comes back to where it began

by: Matthew Sherman, Kevin Love competes in a game of Knockout with youth players at the Lake Oswego High School gym on Tuesday morning.

In just a few weeks, Kevin Love will be banging bodies with some of the NBA's most talented and physical players. But, on Tuesday, he was back at home, hanging out with a handful of former teammates at the Lake Oswego gym and posting up elementary school students.

Less than a week after being selected fifth in the NBA draft and ultimately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love was the featured draw at a youth basketball camp.

A few drills were run in which Love showed off his signature outlet passes. He was also bested in a game of Knockout and had the ball stripped from him by a player who barely came up to his knees.

But, for the young players in attendance, the main draw was simply hanging out with the 6'10' former Laker star for a few hours.

At the end of the camp, the players gathered in a circle to ask Love questions that ranged from 'How many dunks have you made in a game?' to 'Is it hard to ignore all the stuff that people on ESPN say about you?'

Then it was time for autographs as the kids brought pictures, magazines and even their own shoes to be graced with the swipe of a Sharpie.

For Love, even though he was at the center of attention for two hours and had half a dozen cameras on him at all times, this was actually one of the calmer days he has had in the past few weeks.

'I'm still exhausted,' he said.

Love will leave again on Thursday, heading back to Los Angeles to continue work outs. But, if even for just a brief time, he enjoyed being back in his home town.

'It's weird. It doesn't feel any different. I'm still cracking the same jokes and everything,' said Love who goofed around with former coach Mark Shoff and teammates Ernie Spada, Elliot Babcock-Krenk and Nick Halberg.

This brief respite comes after Love did scores of interviews and signed multiple endorsement deals. In the coming weeks he will sign his contract with the Timberwolves.

Love has his work cut out for him in Minnesota. The team was one of the worst in the NBA last year but he is looking forward to the opportunity and was pleased with the trade that took him from Memphis to Minneapolis.

'I kept getting in better shape. I was kind of hoping that Minnesota would pick me at (No.) 3,' Love said.

He has already met with his future teammates and hopes to make a quick impact.

'I don't need 20 points a game to be happy. I just want to be a facilitator and to be a good fit on and off the court,' Love said.

Another benefit of the trade to Minnesota is that it moved Love into the same division with the Portland Trailblazers. This means he will be making multiple stops to the Rose Garden throughout the season, which starts in late October.

'I definitely want to get back as much as possible. I've always bragged about where I'm from and talked about how Portland is great,' Love said.