Lofton expects to visit UA this weekend

The University of Arkansas basketball program will likely get a visit this weekend from 6-1 combo guard Chris Lofton, the the leading contender for Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky.

The leading contender for Kentucky's Mr. Basketball plans to be on the campus of the University of Arkansas this weekend.

Chris Lofton, a high-scoring unsigned 6-1 pure shooter and combo guard from Mason County High in Maysville,Ky., said Sunday night he would be officially visiting the Razorbacks.

"That's the plan right now," Lofton said. "I am going to sit everything up with them on Monday and I am planning on coming down there next weekend."

Lofton, who has hit as many as 11 3-pointers in one game, averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.2 steals this past season while leading his team back to the state championship game at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

That was a year after Lofton, who scored 2,763 career points, hit 9-of-12 3-pointers in a 39-point effort to lead Mason County over Louisville Ballard for the 2003 title.

He hit 46.2 percent of his 3-point attempts during his career and 83.5 percent of his career attempts from the free throw line and was just recently named the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year and Associated Press Player of the Year in Kentucky.

"I have shot thousands and thousands of shots over the years to try and become as pure shooter and I' ve been blessed that my hard work has paid off," Lofton said. "I always feel real good about it when a shot leaves my hands."

Lofton has drawn interest from schools such as Cincinnati, Louisville and Notre Dame, but his only official visits so far have been to Valporaiso and Arkansas State, a school he visited last weekend.

He is nowhere near a decision as the late signing period of April 15-May 19 opens on Wednesday.

"Those are both nice schools and they talked about how I could come in as a freshman and play and make an impact right away," Lofton said. "But I am in no hurry to make a decision and just want to see how this plays out and what all of my options are."

Lofton, who was also a standout football player for his school, is well aware of Arkansas' situation and says it really interests him.

"I know they have some great big guys coming in and they told me that there is going to be a lot of double teamming in the post and there are going to be a lot of shots available for somebody like myself that can knock it down," Lofton said. "I am anxious to get down there and look it over."

He admits it would be nice to play with some big men after playing for a smallish Mason County squad the past few years.

"We have had no big men so we have had to just press and run the ball and stay in an up-tempo game," Lofton said. "We were able to get up a lot shots and fortunately a lot of them went in."

Arkansas head coach Stan Heath went to see Lofton play in the Sweet 16 tournament in March in Kentucky and Lofton took in the Razorbacks' game at Kentucky earlier this year.

"He is a nice guy and a very good coach," Lofton said. "I know they have a great recruiting class coming in. Coach Heath came to Maysville here to see me and has seen me play. They have let me know how intersted they are in me and that makes me feel good."

Lofton, who had 12 points Saturday night in the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star game on the campus of Thomas More College, does not have any other visits set up at this time.

"I just see no real reason to hurry," Lofton said. "I am going to take my time, look everything over that's in front of me and then make a decision. There's no need to rush."

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