Loomis on to bigger and better things

By Lawrence Bailey

It was December 1998. Then-Dinos Head Coach Cory Russell was in the stands at SAIT’s Christmas Tournament scouting the Mount Royal Cougars when a sharpshooter playing for Grant MacEwan College caught his eye. The six-foot-seven guard/forward was lighting up the opposition with relative ease and Russell began his pursuit.

"Cory called my coach and asked if he could talk to me about transferring," explained Jeff Loomis, just coming off his third and final season with the Dinos men’s basketball team. "There were a few schools interested, but I wanted to go somewhere where I could play in my first year, somewhere where my parents could come down and watch.

"For my three years here, they came down (from Edmonton) for every home game."

And Calgary it was, winning the Edmonton-native’s favour over stiff competition from the University of Saskatchewan.

Loomis made an immediate impact on Dinos, taking his game up a notch from the successes he enjoyed in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. Any doubts about his ability to perform at the university-level were put to rest when, in his first year here, he finished second to teammate Adam Begley in three point shootingpercentage in the Canada West Conference.

At the end of the 1999/2000 season he would have to make a big adjustment as the Dinos hired a new Head Coach, Dan Vanhooren from Medicine Hat College.

"It was night and day comparing Dan (Vanhooren ) to Cory (Russel) and Howard," said Loomis about the two coaches different approaches to the game. "It was especially tough because after the first semester, once I got used to the new style of ball, I got hurt."

Injuries plagued the Dinos in the 2000/2001 season and Loomis was no exception. Knee problems kept him out for much of the second half and threatened the beginning of his fifth and final campaign.

Hard work over the summer paid off and Loomis was able to play nearly every game this past season, providing some much needed veteran leadership after big man Chris Harris was felled by knee surgery and forced to take the year off. However, the hard luck Dinos stumbled to a 6–14 record in 2001/02, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

"It was frustrating to go out on that note because everyone on the team felt like we could have done more," Loomis lamented. "But I was glad I had a great last game on senior night. We won the last game I ever played in, which is something a lot of guys can’t say."

Loomis isn’t dwelling on the failed season though. In fact, life after basketball is looking pretty good for the former Dino, he was recently engaged to women’s basketball Dino Anna Bekkering and was accepted into the Urban Design graduate program here at the University of Calgary.

"It was a good week," he laughed. "I got accepted to grad school on Wednesday and then engaged on Saturday. I can’t complain."

His career has been fruitful, going to the national championships with Grant MacEwan in 1998 and, above all else, cultivating some great friendships.

"My greatest memories were the friends I made over my three years here," he smiled. "The guys who lived in Rez hung out a lot and we all got to be really close."

As far as his exploits on court and in print go, he’s not as interested in keeping tabs on them.

"I don’t have to do that," he chuckled. "My mom’s got a big scrapbook full of all my stuff."

Well mom, here’s one more to add to your collection.

Leave a comment