No Ordinary J(L)oe
Jan. 15, 2003
By Lamar Chance
A quick question: Can you give the nickname of the person who can show moves on the floor and also is also muscially inclined?
If you guessed J-Lo, then you are correct. No, not the already famous J-Lo (a.k.a. actress/singer Jennifer Lopez). We're talking about the soon-to-be well known J-Loe, Ole Miss' redshirt freshman Jonathan Loe.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard is already making his presence known on the basketball floor with his dazzling, acrobatic moves. Loe also wants to venture into music as well, even saying that he would like to be a front man for a reggae band in the 2002-03 Ole Miss Basketball Media Guide.
"Either way, I want to be a rock star or basketball star," said Loe. "As long as I'm rich and famous before it's all said and done, I'll be happy."
First things first, Loe is extremely excited to be back on the basketball court. After talking with the coaching staff prior to the 2001-02 campaign, Loe decided to redshirt last season. Although it was a minor setback for the Tennessee All-State high school performer, Loe took the year to work on his game and get stronger in the weight room.
"I was somewhat disappointed when they first mentioned it to me, but I know it had nothing to do with my skills," said Loe at the start of the 2001-02 season. "It was a small blow to my confidence, but I am going to use this year to get stronger and be prepared for next season."
Now, this year has arrived and Loe is ready. Loe said that he has been working hard on his game since he arrived at Ole Miss - even last season when he knew he wouldn't be suiting up. That work continued throughout the preseason drills and is an on-going process.
"Physically, I worked on getting stronger in the weight room," said Loe. "But, I concentrated more this preseason on mental preparation. I knew I was going to get the chance to play, so I was more focused in getting ready.
"As far as my skills, I've been working on my outside shot, which is still a weak point. I've also been concentrating on defense. I've been trying to make good decisions and not turn the ball over."
In the Rebels' first exhibition game against West Alabama, the Memphis, Tenn., native showcased his talents with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Despite his numbers not being as impressive since that first contest, Loe is still learning and growing in head coach Rod Barnes' system and both admit that the best basketball days are ahead of him.
"It was fun and exciting to be on the court again," Loe said. "I was kind of nervous and a little shaky. I'm a little tentative right now, but that will go away as I get more comfortable. Overall, I'm so happy to be playing again."
Barnes agreed, "Jonathan is a talented young man and is very skilled. Once he gets more familiar with our system in game situations, he will become a big factor for us. As I have said before, Jonathan's future at Ole Miss is very bright."
A glimpse of that future was put on dislay in the Rebels' victory at George Mason Nov. 30. Midway through the second half, Ole Miss was putting together a run to put the game out of reach. Ahead 40-29, Loe came up with a huge steal that led to a Rebel basket and kept the rally going. He has also played well in Ole Miss' 2 Southeastern Conference games, averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.
"I was in deny defense," Loe said of the play in the George Mason game. "My man got the ball anyway and was trying to put it on the floor. I traced the ball and got a hand on it. The ball came loose and I dove on it. I have learned that it is more important to have the ball than to do something spectacular with it. When I got the ball, I saw Justin (Reed) running the floor and I rolled the ball to him, and he hit a big hoop for us."
That play was spectacular and sparked the Rebels to the win. Making tremendous plays is nothing new for Loe. Named the Most Creative Player in the country by Bob Gibbons' All-Star Report coming out of high school, the former Bartlett High School star would also like to shine on the music stage.
"I've always wanted to be a rock star," Loe said. "I play the guitar and piano. I got a guitar for my 13th birthday and learned how to play on my own by listening to my dad's Led Zepplin, Doors and Beatles records.
"I also took piano lessons when I was young, and everybody made fun of me for doing it. However, girls like it when I tell them I play the piano. It's worked out for me."
And, with more hard work, desire and dedication, J-Loe will be coming to an arena - basketball or concert - near you in the future.
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