WALKER: Lofton always impressed me

I always appreciate watching Chris Lofton play. He played in a basketball camp that my good buddy Rex Chapman had at Kentucky Basketball Academy the summer before Lofton went to Tennessee. I have always been impressed with him as a shooter, and I thought he was a better athlete than people gave him credit for.

When you have a guy that can put the ball in the basket, to me there is always a spot for him on the team. I understand Tubby had Crawford, Bradley and Rondo at the time, but I wish they could have found some kind of way to work it out for him to be at Kentucky. It is a shame to see one of the guys that is one of the premier shooters in college basketball shooting the ball for Tennessee. I could probably handle if somebody else, but not Tennessee.

The more people tell him what he can't do, the more it drives him to be better. I see a lot of similarities with the way his game has evolved in Jeff Malone, who is from Georgia and played at Mississippi State. He was a smooth shooter. Jeff, just like Chris, was probably a little bit more athletic than people gave him credit for because he played for a long time in the NBA and had that sweet, sweet stroke just like Chris Lofton. There was no 3-point shot then. That's the only difference.

Chris Lofton is a great story. He played in this state where high school basketball is the king. He was a great player like Richie Farmer and Rex Chapman, but unlike them, he didn't get a chance to play for his childhood team. He is doing very well and way his career has gone he will have a shot to play in the NBA.

A good scenario for Sunday's game would be for Chris Lofton to be fully recovered from last weekend's ankle injury and get 40 points, but for Kentucky to win the game. I don't know if Tubby would be too happy about that and might get on Bradley or Crawford for that. But deep down I think Tubby would be happy from standpoint that Chris comes from a great family and we all know if things could have been done a little bit different — and hindsight is always 20-20 — that Tubby would take that kid in a heartbeat. But you don't get a do-over in this situation. I think he wishes the best for Chris except when he is playing the University of Kentucky.


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