"Lofton has changed his body. He's really thinned down," head coach Bruce Pearl notes. "He has watched his diet and trained a little bit."
Chris Lofton, a soft-spoken 6-foot-2 junior from Maysville, Ky., says his trimmed-down body is mostly due to a stricter diet.
"I'm just eating a lot better, eating healthier, and I'm running a lot," he says. "I'm staying away from the fried foods and all that."
Passing up fried foods has been tough but passing up desserts has been even tougher.
"I've got a sweet tooth, so it was hard for me to give up sweets – cookies, ice cream and all of that," he says. "I eat one dessert a week now."
Although Lofton was never chunky, he felt he could increase his agility by decreasing his weight. He worked hard to accomplish that during the off-season.
"I gain weight easy, and it was showing," he says. "I feel like I'm in a lot better condition this year. I can run longer and stuff like that."
Lofton has gained a step but he cautions fans not to expect a whirlwind when he takes the floor for the Vols' exhibition opener.
"I'm not real quick," he notes. "But I hope to surprise people by doing other things besides just shooting."
Pearl says Lofton is more fast than quick.
"Chris is not terrifically quick laterally, but he gets down the floor fast," the coach says, smiling smugly before adding: "That's because he tries to get down there so he can get his shot off."
Lofton was one of the top three pure shooters in college basketball last winter. He believes he'll be an even more effective scorer this year, however, because his slimmer physique will enable him to be more dangerous off the dribble.
"I've tried to work on that – going to the hole, instead of just settling for the jumper," he says. "I think maybe getting the quickness to do other things besides just shooting will make me tougher to guard."
Now that he has lost some weight, Lofton is determined to keep it off. That means he must continue to observe his stricter diet.
In other words, the only thing sweet about Chris Lofton this season will be his jump shot.