Vancouver, British Columbia - Jack Cruz-Dumont was born to hoop.
He was a prominent force in high school for Vancouver College where his late father, John, also attended. Jack averaged 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in his senior year, winning the Lower Mainland MVP exactly 25 years after his dad. The Fighting Irish didn’t bring home the elusive B.C. high school title it's been searching for since 1967, but Jack left a distinct mark at VC, on and off the court. He carried on the legacy of his name, bridging the gap between his father and his younger brothers, Hunter, now at SFU and Cole, still at VC.
Throughout his senior year of high school, school’s were watching and taking notice. Jack’s decision boiled down between the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia. Jack’s attraction to leaving home was almost a done deal – driven by a strong push from the school, stellar program and watching them win the national championship that year. Ultimately Jack chose home, UBC. His father’s alma mater and his mother’s, Trixie – who now teaches at Vancouver College!
Family over everything.
It’s never as picture perfect as it seems, but his family is the foundation of Jack’s success, work ethic, and persistence.
Being the eldest, he is no stranger to carving his own path, taking on any challenge and facing it with a ferocity as strong as his will to win.
We are excited to follow along with Jack on his journey, but before we look forward, Jack reflects on his time so far at UBC starting from his redshirt year, to his first full season, then dealing with the pandemic and everything in between.
Having that redshirt year was a very unique experience. You go to practice everyday, workouts and everything with the team but you’re not playing in the games. It was a good opportunity for me to develop my game and I was fortunate to have that year. Essentially I was going against one of the top teams in the country everyday, I just went in with the mindset that practices were my games. Honestly it gets frustrating putting in all the work and not feeling part of the team come game time but it’s a humbling experience. It’s the epitome of thinking long-term, I would just always visualize and trust the journey I was on. Some weeks you only practice Monday-Wednesday, then when the team leaves Thursday you’re on your own training. I wouldn’t trade all those times for anything. You get a lot of freedom because the focus isn’t on you, so my advice to anyone in that situation is to be fearless. There’s going to be ups and downs and you’ll probably be the youngest in the gym - keep going. I came in as a 17 year old, smallest and youngest going against guys 5-6 years older. There’s nothing better you can ask for in terms of helping your game. Use being a redshirt to get better, have patience and enjoy every step. Looking back, I wouldn’t be where I am today without that year. I’ve had good vets while being at UBC and practices were always a battle.
Last season our team had its fair share of ups and downs but we clicked at the right time, around a year ago we were at Nationals, which seems crazy. For me, I went from playing my last game of highschool to my first game in Taiwan in the Jones cup over a year and a half later. At the Jones cup we were playing in packed arenas against all National Teams, from the games to the culture, that experience was eye opening. It wasn’t just playing ball on that trip, we traveled around Taiwan and Hong Kong, stayed in places from school dorms during training camp, played in gyms with no A/C, to super nice hotels in the cities. Even going on a yacht trip through the Hong Kong harbour, it was a crazy 3 weeks.
At this level, I’ve been playing more point guard. I’m comfortable playing PG, it feels natural but playing the one or two is pretty interchangeable for me. That year we won the Canada West Finals, played in the National Semis and finished 3rd in the country. It’s not all we wanted, but that experience was perfect for a lot of the guys we have now, we came close and got a feel for where we want to be. We saw what it takes to win, we know what we could’ve done better. I’ll never forget coming 3rd and watching the National finals, it showed us where we want to be.
This year has been challenging for everyone. When our season ended last year, we were supposed to be playing UCLA in August. Then a couple weeks later, school shut down and basically the world got put on pause. During the lockdown pandemic, it was a chance for my brothers and I to train together. We got a small gym in our garage we were working out in everyday, both my brothers took steps forward in those months as well. Hunter is at SFU now and Coles is going into his senior year of highschool at VC, I see big things coming from them. Once restrictions were lifted a little bit we were just finding outdoor courts to play pickup with some of my UBC guys. It was the longest any of us have gone without being in a gym and hard losing this season, but I understand a lot of people lost more than a ball season so we’re just rolling with what we can control.
This Covid season is new and different than anything. Our team has been very locked in on the end goal and really working as a unit. Everyone has been getting after it in the weight room and working a lot with our strength coach. Everyday we either do mobility work or a lift, lots of reps up each on the shooting machine then just drills. It’s a day by day experience and it feels like there's new protocols or the chance of getting shut down all the time. With that, there’s a lot of positives in it because we’ve been getting more reps up than ever not preparing or having games. It’s real, real tough not playing or even scrimmaging right now but we are using all this gym time to our advantage.
University is different, the team changes a lot. Since I first got here only four guys are still on the team now. It’s a whole new group, dynamic and culture. I’ve been impressed with the new guys, our team is very deep and we have a lot of guys with the same mentality. I think this team can do something special. I’ve been at UBC for a couple years now but I feel like it’s just getting started.
Thank you to all my coaches and teammates, I’m excited to play with this group and see what we can do.