By: Cole Shelton
Johnathan Loyd is one of few college athletes that played Division I basketball and football. There, he was a star point guard for four years with Oregon and then spent one year as a wide receiver on the football team. He also became the first person in Pac-12 history to play in a basketball and football title game.
For Loyd, why he decided to pursue football after a successful basketball career is simple. He didn't want to have any regrets and it added to his legacy.
"For one, I was curious to know if I could do it or not. Two, not many people can say they played Division I in both basketball and football and had success. It was very intriguing at the time. I honestly didn't really search for any basketball looks after my seasons with Oregon," Loyd said in a recent phone interview. "I went straight to football as my coaches came to me during the basketball season and one of my best friends was a football player. I also didn't want to have regrets as it would be my last chance to play football. Hindsight is 20-20 and I probably wouldn't have done it but it was a good experience, good legacy."
After the year doing college football, Loyd spent two years in Germany and had a gap before signing with the Nevada Desert Dogs of the North American Premier Basketball League.
Following the year in the NAPB, Loyd decided to head north to Canada and play for the Island Storm. Why he decided to come to the National Basketball League of Canada was simple.
Photo Credit: Paula Mazerolle
"Opportunity really," Loyd said. "I had a long journey since I left Oregon because I did the football thing. This is just an opportunity that they provided me with and I'm trying to take full advantage of."
When he got to training camp, Loyd didn't know what his role would be but was hoping to get back in the swing of things and be a leader.
He also knows being a leader on and off the court as a point guard is crucial for him, especially given his experience.
"I'm one of the older guys and I have to be a leader," he explained. "One of the vets because we have a lot of rookies. I need to show them what it takes to be a professional and what it takes to be successful as a pro."
Photo Credit: Paula Mazerolle
Entering this season, Loyd was known as a defensive specialist but his offence has caught the attention of many around the league. He's averaging 19.2 points and 6.2 assists while shooting 48.4 per cent from the field and 42.4 per cent from three.
Although he is having success defensively, being third in the league with 18 steals, he knows his offence is getting there.
"Through my career, I've been known a little more about my defence. It is actually my offensive game that is catching up now," Loyd said. "I want to keep my focus on defence as well and make plays and lockdown top guys."
For Loyd, he hopes this year will be a successful year for him as it about getting back into the game of basketball after being off for so many years.
"I wanted to compete. I've been away from the game for a little bit because I feel like I haven't gotten what I deserve from the game basketball," said the point guard. "Just stay true to the game and hopefully my time will come."
In the end, Johnathan Loyd knows the Island Storm has what it takes to have success in this league, especially after their hot start. But, they are on a skid which Loyd says the team just needs to get back to the fundamentals and they will be fine.
"We started off strong and we kind of got ahead of ourselves and did the little things," he concluded. "That is what made us have so much success and we need to have the chip on our shoulder."