Lofton is NCAA's Mr. Clutch

It seems the rest of the country is discovering what Tennessee basketball fans already knew ... that Vol All-American Chris Lofton is probably the NCAA's premier long-range bomber AND its ultimate clutch player.

In a recently posted piece called "Year of the sophomore," Kyle Veltrop of sportingnews.com praises Lofton's remarkable skills in a segment labeled "Next season could look a lot like this season ... or not."

Here's what Veltrop has to say about the Vol superstar in looking ahead to the 2007-08 season:

"With Texas A&M's Acie Law gone, Chris Lofton becomes the most clutch player in the nation while retaining the title of best shooter in the land ... But if Lofton leaves Tennessee, then Georgetown's Jonathan Wallace will be the best shooter with the game on the line and Davidson's Stephen Curry will be the shooting star."

KEATING GETS TOP JOB

Kerry Keating, a UT assistant under Buzz Peterson from 2001-2003, has left the UCLA staff to become head coach at Santa Clara. Keating was best known as the guy who targeted Las Vegas prep star C.J. Watson and convinced him to sign with the Vols. Watson went on to distinguish himself as Tennessee's starting point guard for four years.

EXODUS AT FLORIDA

Head coach Billy Donovan will be back with the Florida Gators in 2007-08 but his 2006-07 starting five won't be. Donovan announced Thursday that he will not return to Kentucky (where he was an assistant under Rick Pitino) as head coach.

By staying in Gainesville, Donovan faces the task of finding five guys to replace his 2006-07 starters. Lee Humphrey is a senior, and the four juniors – Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green – announced Thursday they are bypassing their senior seasons to turn pro.

The espn.com website projects Horford (fourth), Noah (fifth) and Brewer (eighth) to be among the top 10 picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. Green is ranked 45th among draft-eligible prospects.


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