UT honors Chris Lofton

Chris Lofton's sweet jump shot is no longer on display around the University of Tennessee campus but his name soon will be. One office inside the Pratt Practice Pavilion will be known as the Chris Lofton Recruiting Room.

The move was funded by boosters Brian and Craig Nelson, along with Jerry and Nancy Fortner, who will be recognized at halftime of Wednesday night's UT-North Carolina A&T basketball game. Lofton will be present for the dedication ceremony, as well.

Head coach Bruce Pearl quipped that "It's appropriate since only Tennessee recruited Chris Lofton - and nobody else - that we should name a recruiting room after him. You'd think we'd name a shooting machine after him ... or maybe the entire building."

Pearl went on to express his gratitude for the "wonderful gesture" by the Nelsons and Fortners, who "made generous donations to the campaign for Tennessee basketball" but elected to have Lofton's name on the door, rather than their own.

Asked for his take on the honor, Lofton replied: "It's a great accomplishment. When they told me about it I was still overseas (playing pro ball in Spain) and I was real excited."

Lofton remains one of the great stories in UT basketball lore. Despite a standout career at Mason County High in Maysville, Ky., he was viewed as too small and too slow by many recruiters. He admitted that most of the scholarship offers he got were from NAIA teams, with Arkansas State and Valparaiso being the other two major-college exceptions.

Lofton went from sleeper to keeper, however, leaving UT as a two-time All-American (2007 and 2008), the fourth-leading scorer in program history and the second-most prolific 3-point shooter in NCAA history.

Typically humble, Lofton seemed surprised that Tennessee would recognize his achievements by naming an office in his honor.

"It was really surprising," he said. "They usually name stuff after older people, and I just got out of here."

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