The Owl Howl: I’m here with Delbert Love, a 6’0” rising sophomore combo guard out of St. Edward High School in Ohio. How are you doing today Delbert?
Love: I’m doing good, how are you doing?
The Owl Howl: I’m doing well. You’re originally from Cleveland Ohio, tell me a little bit about where you grew up.
Love: I’m from Cleveland, born and raised, I lived there my whole life. I went to St. Edward High School located in Lakewood, which is about 30 minutes away. I grew up in Cleveland and went to public middle and elementary school until high school.
The Owl Howl: When did you start getting into basketball?
Love: I started getting into basketball around middle school. I played with my friends through 6th grade but football was my first love. I was playing football seriously until about 7th or 8th grade when I started playing basketball for my team and I kept going with that.
The Owl Howl: Were you better at basketball or were there more realistic expectations that you would succeed in basketball?
Love: That’s funny because everyone I talked to said that they pictured me playing football but I ended up playing basketball because I was feeling it a little more, so I just stuck with basketball.
The Owl Howl: What positions were you in football?
Love: Depends on what year. I played quarterback, running back, wide receiver.
The Owl Howl: At what point in high school did you realize you were going to be playing Division I basketball?
Love: Probably my freshman year. My high school was nationally ranked, we had great players who taught me a lot such as Delvon Roe who was a top five player in the country, Thomas Pritchard who was top 100 went to Indiana, Frankie Dobbs who went to Ohio University for a year and then went to Bryant, so there were a whole bunch of great players who I learned a lot from. I had gotten some college interest from that.
The Owl Howl: It sounds like a nationally recognized program with good coaches, which explains your well rounded game
Love: St. Edward Head Coach Eric Flannery is one of the best coaches in Ohio and in the country. He coaches the USA Under-17 basketball team. He’s just a great coach
The Owl Howl: What colleges recruited you out of high school
Love: My senior year I had my list down to Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne who called me late to get into the mix, and I took a visit there and was interested and that’s when I got the call from Coach Preston and Coach Lallathin so I decided to make a visit down to Kennesaw State and I fell in love with it.
The Owl Howl: Why did you choose Kennesaw State?
Love: When I got down here from Ohio, I had never been to Atlanta or down south for that matter but I kind of fell in love with the area, the campus and most importantly I felt a great connection with Coach Preston and Coach Lallathin from the jump which is important in picking a college.
The Owl Howl: What was the toughest part for you in transitioning to the college game from the high schools ranks?
Love: Probably speed and strength because the college game is much faster. Everybody is stronger and faster and when going to the hole you have to be smarter about your decision making process.
The Owl Howl: For all the fans who have never seen you play, tell them a little about your game and style of play.
Love: I’m a combo guard, but last year I played more point guard than shooting guard which was new for me, but the coaches really helped me into that role. If I’m open I can knock down the three but I’m always looking to get my teammates involved. We’ve got great scorers on the wing and great scorers down low so just helping the team out and getting my points and assists where I can.
The Owl Howl: You averaged 12 points, 3 assists, and 1.7 steals as a freshman. What have you worked on this off-season in order to improve your game?
Love: This off-season I have really been focusing on my explosion and conditioning. I played around 30 something minutes last year and it really took a toll on me so I have been working hard this off-season to make sure I’ll be in better shape and be prepared for whatever happens this year. As for my explosion, just first step movement and getting my crossover quicker. I also have been practicing my catch and shoot and getting my shot up quicker.
The Owl Howl: Give the fans a little insight into your weekly routines and how much work you put in.
Love: I wake up every day at 5:20 a.m., workout at 6:00 a.m., then I go to class and eat and try and get back in the gym later on to play pickup or get shots up. I do this routine Monday through Friday.
The Owl Howl: How many shots a day do you put up?
Love: 700-1000 is what I try to get per day.
The Owl Howl: What are your goals this year as a team and how do you think it will be different from last year which didn’t go as anybody wanted it to?
Love: Last year nobody really saw the season going like that and it was really a learning experience. Team goals…we definitely want to win the Atlantic Sun conference. I mean we have a lot of freshmen, a lot of new people, new talent. I feel like with the people we have returning joining the new freshmen we can pull everybody together and get the job done.
The Owl Howl: Belmont leaving the conference definitely has to help your odds a little bit.
Love: Belmont was a great team, they played great together and had a great coach. I love to play against good competition, but with them leaving it definitely helps us out a bit.
The Owl Howl: Mercer is going to be a tough test this year because of their size.
Love: Yeah Mercer’s always tough. Last year was my first year learning about the Kennesaw State and Mercer rivalry, but it was a great rivalry. At home we had a sellout crowd and a lot of fans came out to support us and I hope they do again this year.
The Owl Howl: What are your goals this year individually?
Love: Cutting down on turnovers. I averaged close to three turnovers and around three assists so that’s not a good ratio. I’m trying to improve my to assist to turnover ratio.
The Owl Howl: You were named to the Atlantic Sun All Freshman team, and that’s a big honor you must be proud of.
Love: Yeah, that really meant a lot to me. I remember when my coaches told me I was named to the team, I was really excited. I remember calling my mom and her being so proud of me. I have to thank my coaches for pushing me and I have to continue to work hard so I don’t let my team down.
The Owl Howl: Speaking of honors, you were named a captain as a freshman. What does that mean to you and what are the expectations that you have to fulfill?
Love: It means a lot to me. Coach Preston trusts me to make the right decisions and to be a leader out there.
The Owl Howl: Since you’re now an established player in the Atlantic Sun, do you feel there’s a target on your back?
Love: Not really a target, but I’m definitely on more scouting reports than last year with me being one of the returning players.
The Owl Howl: There are many more shooters on the team this year to space the floor. Do you think that will help you in getting to the basket?
Love: Oh yeah, definitely. That’s going to help me, Markeith (Cummings), Aaron (Anderson) cutting and Myles (Hamilton) slashing. It will enable us to run some motion where you can get one post up player and get some easy buckets.
The Owl Howl: Speaking of Myles, tell us a little bit about him since he was on your high school team at St. Edward.
Love: I’ve known Myles for a long time, I can’t even count the years. I remember when coach first came up to me and asked about Myles, the first thing I said was “get him”. I mean, his game is really hard to define because he does everything really well. The thing that puts him past other players is how much fire he has and I think that will take him a long way.
The Owl Howl: I’ve seen his high school highlights and he has passion on both ends of the floor.
Love: I know coaches really love his defense because he’s got that defensive mindset and won’t let anybody take advantage of him, and he will never back down from a challenge. As long as I’ve played with him I’ve never seen him back down from anybody.
The Owl Howl: You averaged nearly two steals per game, do you pride yourself on your defense as well?
Love: Oh yeah. I definitely turned my defense up this past season. Coach Preston and Coach L (Lallathin) were big on defense, I know they told us in the beginning the season that we were going to defend if nothing else. I worked on moving my feet, sliding and playing passing lanes so that resulted in me averaging nearly two steals per game.
The Owl Howl: Thanks for your time Delbert
Love: Thank youFollow @KSUOwlHowl