Jade Loville is the daughter of former NFL running back Derek Loville, who was part of three Super Bowl championship teams. Perhaps that’s where she got the driving work ethic that Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes has seen over the past few months. It’s a work ethic that Barnes hopes rubs off on her talented class of four freshmen.
“Jade’s level is a step above,” Barnes said. “I love the fact that I go in [the gym], Jade’s gonna be in there. Jade’s strong as an ox. She’s fit. She works on her craft every single day. And so what I love is that Paris (Clark), Lemyah (Hylton), Maya (Nnaji), Kailyn (Gilbert), they see that.”
Training is what Loville does whether it’s in-season or off-season. One of the first things she wanted to do when she met with the local media was to talk about her trainers.
“Just working,” Loville said when asked what she did over the summer. “I was in the gym. I had my trainers, Greg Gilman and August Mendez—shout-out to them. They helped me just with pursuing the ball, throwing the ball off the backboard, and they’re down there with the pad. So, just trying to work around them. Working on my passing, both hands. Coming off screens. Maybe today I’m not shooting, and we’re just working on passing goals the whole time.”
That kind of attitude is something Barnes is looking for, especially when it comes to defensive improvements.
“Most players, if they don’t have that mentality, they’re not going to go in and work on extra defense because that is hard,” Barnes said. “It’s easy to go out and shoot. Everybody wants to go shoot baskets, but we need to go out and work on something.”
Those defensive improvements are going to be an emphasis at coming practices because Barnes is seeing a much better offensive team already.
“Before we didn’t have the personnel,” Barnes said. “It wasn’t our personnel. Like Bendu (Yeaney), strong, a great defender. Jade, now bringing her along to our defense—which she can because she’s a worker and wants to—but then she also has really good offensive ability.”
Barnes is already seeing one particular player who reminds her of Loville when it comes to work ethic.
“That person right behind her is Kailyn, and I’d say Kailyn works like that,” Barnes said. “She just has a lot more to learn and less experience. But Kailyn watches film more than anybody on the team, studies the game more, wants to be better, and she’s going to be good because of that. And I’m going to pour into her because of that.”
Arizona fans will get their first look at Loville and the six other newcomers on Thursday evening as the Wildcats take on West Texas A&M at McKale Center. The game starts at 6 p.m. MST. It will not be streamed or televised.