Former Runnin’ Ute Jordan Loveridge globetrotting his way to successful pro career overseas
Loveridge weighed in recently on his five-year pro career overseas, including stops in Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Austria and Finland
The very first recruiting visit that former University of Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak made after getting the job in April 2011 was a short drive to West Jordan to watch a rising senior by the name of Jordan Loveridge.
The 6-foot-6 phenom had been dominating Utah schoolboy hoops and shined on the AAU summer circuit, but Krystkowiak’s predecessor, Jim Boylen, had told Loveridge the previous year that he wasn’t good enough to play for the Utes when they entered the Pac-12, and hadn’t offered him a scholarship. BYU and other schools in the West had.
It is no wonder, then, that Loveridge had Krystkowiak’s back recently when asked to weigh in on the Runnin’ Utes’ coaching change. Krystkowiak was fired in March and replaced by Utah State coach Craig Smith.
“Coach K, I think he did a good job, as far as I could see,” Loveridge said. “It is tough. The Pac-12 is a tough league to be in. In my opinion, he did a great job up there. It is a tough league and it is a business. Sometimes you have to move on. That’s how it goes, and I am sure that Coach will be fine with whatever he does next.”
Loveridge, who left Utah in 2016 to pursue a professional career overseas, is playing in the Powder League summer pro-am basketball circuit at American Preparatory Academy in Draper and recently spoke at length with the Deseret News about a variety of topics, including the way he is carving out a nice living for himself and his young family in Europe.
But before talking about himself, he wanted to give Krystkowiak and Smith a couple of shoutouts.
“I have heard great things about the new coach (Smith),” Loveridge said. “I don’t know him too well. As for Larry, I would like to thank him for all that he did for me and for the Utah basketball team. I hope they do great with the new coach. I wish them all the best.”
Loveridge recently completed his fifth season playing overseas and is “back home” in Utah for a couple of months with wife Kylie (a former Southern Utah University volleyball player) and son Kingston while he figures out his next step.
He played in the Korisliiga, the highest level of basketball in Finland, last season for a team from Lapua called Kobrat.
“It’s the top league in Finnish basketball, and it was a good experience,” Loveridge said. “I don’t know if I will go back or not. But I will be somewhere in Europe, for sure.”
Loveridge has now played professionally in Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Austria and Finland. He’s enjoyed them all, he said, although there were some uncertainties about getting paid in Hungary because the team he played for had some financial difficulties.
“Basketball overseas is a little different,” he admitted. “The game is different. But once you get used to it, it is good. Once you get used to the professional level, and realize that everyone is good and everyone can play, you (thrive). It is fun. I’ve had a fun career so far.”
Loveridge said the first few years were tough when he lived by himself, but now Kylie and Kingston live with him abroad and life is much better.
“It has been a great time traveling and seeing Europe,” he said. “There are some really good leagues that will pay guys (decently) and take care of guys.”
In his four-year career at Utah, Loveridge averaged 12.2 points and 5.4 rebounds. He shot an outstanding 38% from 3-point range. In Europe, he’s played against former Utah teammate Brandon Taylor and former Utah State star Spencer Butterfield.
Butterfield is also keeping his skills sharp in the Powder League.
“It is a good run, this Powder League,” Loveridge said. “You get a good, nice sweat, and then just playing high-level basketball is always a good thing to keep yourself ready for whatever comes next.”
Loveridge says he’s asked all the time if he still dreams of playing in the NBA, and is answer remains constant: not really.
Loveridge did some workouts for a few NBA teams in 2016, including the Utah Jazz, but went undrafted, headed to Europe, and hasn’t really looked back.
“I mean, I haven’t thought about it since my rookie season,” he said. “I have been fine with my career and how it has gone in Europe. It has been fun and I haven’t really thought too much about playing pro ball here (in the U.S.) for quite some time.”
Loveridge finished his Utah career ranked No. 13 in school history for career scoring with 1,568 points.
Not bad for a kid from West Jordan who was told he wasn’t good enough to play in the Pac-12.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said. “Basketball had been good to me.”
At home and abroad.