More incentive for Lofton

The fact Chris Lofton wasn't offered a scholarship by home-state schools Kentucky and Louisville following his senior year at Mason County High in Maysville gave him a lot of motivation to prove himself.

The fact he wasn't accorded much recognition following his first two seasons at Tennessee provided even more incentive.

Now Chris Lofton has still more motivation. He spurned the 2007 National Basketball Association Draft because he wasn't projected to go in Round 1, and one analyst already is projecting he won't go in Round 1 of the 2008 draft, either.

At a link called "Never Too Early," Jeff Goodman of has posted an article entitled "Freshmen to dominate top of '08 draft." In it he projects the 30 players most likely to be first-round picks in next June's NBA Draft. Lofton's name is nowhere to be found.

Freshmen Greg Oden (Ohio State) and Kevin Durant (Texas) were the top picks in the '07 draft, and Goodman expects that trend to continue. He has freshmen filling the top three slots in the 2008 draft – point guard Derrick Rose (Memphis), power forward Michael Beasley (Kansas State) and shooting guard Eric Gordon (Indiana).

Here's what Goodman has to say about Rose, who will battle 2006 starter Willie Kemp for the Tigers' point guard job in 2007:

1. Derrick Rose, 6-2, 180, PG, Fr., Memphis — The Simeon High (Ill.) product will be an immediate star for John Calipari. He knows how to make people better, can get into the lane and finish — and also is able to knock down shots from the perimeter.

Goodman projects just two Southeastern Conference players to be picked in Round 1 of the 2008 NBA Draft, and both hail from the Western Division – senior point guard Ronald Steele of Alabama and freshman power forward Anthony Randolph of LSU.

Goodman's comments on the two SEC players follow:

18. Ron Steele, 6-2, 185, PG, Sr., Alabama — Last year was a wash-out for Steele, who battled through knee problems. Steele should be at 100 percent for next season and he'll reclaim his status among the elite point guards in America.

22. Anthony Randolph, 6-11, 220, PF, Fr., LSU — Long and extremely athletic, Randolph is an exceptional talent who is raw, but NBA scouts could grab him based on potential. He is still rail-thin and will need to play hard all the time.

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