Wright State basketball: Love closing in on 1,000 career rebounds

Wright State center Loudon Love has his shot blocked by Green Bay forward Paris Taylor during a men's basketball game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. E.L. Hubbard/CONTRIBUTED
Wright State center Loudon Love has his shot blocked by Green Bay forward Paris Taylor during a men's basketball game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. E.L. Hubbard/CONTRIBUTED

Raiders said ranks sixth in nation in rebounding this season

Loudon Love is almost certain to become the first player to lead Wright State in rebounding four straight years. And his average this season has been hovering around 12 per game, two more than his career-best mark.

Coach Scott Nagy, of course, is thrilled with that production — though he wants to keep pushing Love without getting, well, naggy.

“It’s odd because he’s getting more defensive rebounds this year, and his offensive rebounding numbers are down from the previous three years,” he said

Love’s offensive-rebound percentage was 39.8%, 42.7% and 31.4% the last three years. This season, it’s 26.9%.

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“I’ve been asking him about that, to get him to play with a better motor and get more offensive rebounds,” Nagy said. “I just spent (one day last week) harping about how he’s not rebounding like he should, and all these articles come out that he’s one of the best rebounders in the country. That didn’t help my cause any.”

The Chicago Tribune ran a feature on the Geneva, Ill., product earlier this week.

Nagy, though, never has to worry about Love becoming too puffed up.

“He takes that stuff to heart,” the coach said of the criticism. “He knows I could sit here and tell these guys everything they’re doing great, which enough people are doing, or I can tell them things I think they need to improve on. He’d like to be a better offensive rebounder.”

Love’s 11.6 rebound average is sixth in the nation, and he’s on pace to obliterate the single-season school record of 10.9. But he concurs with Nagy’s assessment.

“I hope to average over 10 rebounds a game over a weekend typically,” he said. “Being (near) 12 is great, but I wish it was more balanced offensively and defensively. I know it’d help our team.

“After offensive rebounds, you get easier looks with layups and stuff — plus, you maybe get the other team in foul trouble.”

Love’s offensive rebound stats could be down because he’s shooting 53.6% from the field after hitting 48.8% and 49.8% the last two seasons. The easiest misses for a player to retrieve are his own.

But his teammates also are willing rebounders, which means there are fewer available. The Raiders are 22nd nationally in rebound margin at plus-9.4 per game.

“We’ve just got so much size with Grant Basile, Tanner Holden and Tim Finke, and even our guards will clean up,” Love said.

“I’m happy with where it’s at,” he added of his average. “I don’t want it to drop. But I hope I can balance it out a little more.”

Nagy has been prodding Love in other ways. As the team’s lone senior, the coach expects him to take on more of a leadership role.

Love would agree about the need speak up, but it doesn’t come naturally to him.

“He’s such a super likeable guy. His teammates love him. But I’d like to see him be a little more ornery about it in terms of demanding things from them,” Nagy said.

“The hard part about it is he’s so hard on himself that sometimes he doesn’t feel like he’s playing like he should, so it’s hard for him to get on other people. There’s just a balance he’s got to have. I like that he’s hard on himself, but sometimes it’s over the top.”

Love has a school-record 984 rebounds, which means he’ll likely reach 1,000 this weekend during a two-game series with Youngstown State.

He’s also ninth on the all-time scoring list with 1,532 points, 27 behind No. 8 Mark Vest.

Asked how important the rebound milestone is to him, Love replied: “It means a ton. Obviously, I’m not going to stop there. I didn’t stop after setting the record. But it definitely means a lot (because) it’s kind of a gritty thing. It’s kind of a lost art.

“You see guys who are 4 men or 5 men do it when they don’t have a tremendous (scoring) role — or that IS their role — and to be able to do both, to me, is a great thing.”

FRIDAY’S GAME

Youngstown State at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN2, 106.5

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