Pearl defends Tubby for not recruiting Lofton

If you still want to blame Kentucky coach Tubby Smith for making a horrific mistake for not recruiting Mason County star Chris Lofton, perhaps you should listen to Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.

If you still want to blame Kentucky coach Tubby Smith for making a horrific mistake for not recruiting Mason County star Chris Lofton, perhaps you should listen to Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.


It was former Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson, not Pearl, who signed Lofton to play with the Vols. Now Pearl is the beneficiary of Lofton's impressive play that has coaches like Mississippi State's Rick Stansbury calling him as good an overall guard as anyone in the country.


So how did Lofton get overlooked by more schools?


"Recruiting is not an exact science. It is really easy to criticize the local programs in Kentucky (for not recruiting Lofton). There were a lot of reasons he could have been overlooked," Pearl said. "He is a 6-2 two guard and has the size of a traditional point guard. He didn't have great quickness.


"The other thing people fail to realize is what are the individual needs (for a coach). Perhaps Louisville and Kentucky didn't need a shooting guard. In Kentucky's case, they got an all-American (in Joe Crawford). It has been too easy to criticize them for overlooking him. It wasn't just them. It was everybody."


Pearl said Lofton's football skills as well as his basketball talent could have been an indicator he would fare better in college than some forecast. "He was also a winner who just found ways to win. But he has also developed his strength, his quickness, his ability to take the ball to the basket," Pearl said. "It is a wonderful story, but also give Chris credit for developing and let's place less blame on those for missing him."


Fair, accurate and insightful.



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