After starring in the Final Four and helping guide the University of North Carolina to the cusp of a title as a sophomore last season, junior Caleb Love is focused on an encore that ends only one way, the seventh National Championship in Tar Heel history.

The top-ranked Tar Heels are preseason championship favorites for the first time in years and the Bradley Beal Elite alum Love is a big reason why. North Carolina seems to go as Caleb goes. Over his two years in Chapel Hill, UNC is a perfect 15-0 when he scores 20 or more points in a game.

His shot in the Final Four to defeat rival Duke — in the most important game the two teams have ever played against one another — and end the legendary career of Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, will go down in UNC lore. But Caleb isn’t resting on his past accomplishments. He’s put in the work this offseason to be a more consistent contributor to North Carolina’s success this season after averaging 15.9 points per game last season, as he told Adam Lucas of

“I’m trying to look at a bigger picture. It’s going to get greater later. We’re going to make plenty of memories when it’s all said and done. I’m locked in on one goal, and that’s a national championship. For me to do that, I want to do things that better this team. Those are the choices I want to make.”

One of those choices has been to start a new tradition that involves working out in the gym at 7 a.m. even though UNC usually doesn’t practice until 3 p.m.

“I like getting my day started that way because I feel like a lot of people across the country aren’t doing that,” he says. “I feel like I’m getting ahead and getting a workout in before everyone else wakes up. Get my work in, go to class, get my day started. It feels great walking out of there knowing I got work in and got better.”

It’s already evident in his play early this season, even beyond the stat lines, just ask his father Dennis Love, who pointed out to Lucas a play in UNC’s exhibition game against Johnson C. Smith last month that showed how much Caleb as grown. It wasn’t a shot or even a pass. It was a dive on the floor for a loose ball in a preseason game that was never in doubt.

“I’ve been waiting to see that play for his entire life,” Dennis Love said. “He has never, ever done that before. I told him I didn’t care about him scoring a single point, because that play indicates who you are. The fact that he dove on the floor says he’s ready to be a leader. He understands what Carolina basketball is about and what it takes. I’ve known him all his life. I’ve begged for that. We all know he’s talented. But when you take the talent and put in that type of effort, I don’t think he’ll have a peer.”

To read the entire story from, which also dives into Caleb’s connection to his family and his roots, click here.