profile on the Vegas Summer League revelation journey


Sensation of the Summer League of Las Vegas, Kenneth Lofton Jr. does not stop talking and it is probably far from over. Focus on the course of the neo-Grizzly.

Some have kept his blaze in mind since his performance against the French team, others discovered the boy when he moved Chet Holmgren to the Summer League but still Kenny Lofton Jr.’s name is on. every lip for a week. Undrafted and recruited by the Grizzlies on the basis of a two-way contract, the strong winger could well be a steal among the rookies. But how did it get there?

Born in Port Arthur, Texas (2002), young Kenny learned his basketball skills at home, at Memorial High School. At the time, « Junior » was not yet playing in the racket but on the backcourt because he lacked the size to fight with the big boys. Yet his father, Kenny Lofton Sr., insists his son isn’t limited to an outsider’s style of play, as he expressed to Chris Moore in 2021 for panews.com.

“When I was playing guard at Memorial, I knew how to play the position very well. My dad used to show me videos of Hakeem Olajuwon. I happen to have grown up. I know how to handle the ball and make the play.”

Kenneth Lofton Jr.

Addicted to the orange ball, Lofton Jr. also has a small character which can lead to some tension with his coaches. However, everyone is on the same wavelength when it comes to talking about him. He’s a real hard worker and everyone wishes him the best for the future, as Dwight Scypion, his former trainer, points out.

“Junior and I, we had our little fights too. Junior spent a lot of time in my office when he became a sophomore, due to school suspensions, but the following year he was much better. On the pitch, one thing I can say about him is that he is very serious in his game, very serious in his work. »

After finishing high school, Lofton Jr. must choose a university course and the best programs close their doors to him. The reason ? They are waiting for him to do an additional year in prep before accepting his candidacy. It’s dead for Kenny who chooses to bet on himself and joins Louisiana Tech (like Karl Malone and Paul Millsap before him), a middle course that offers visibility far removed from that of the biggest universities. While he nabs the fine stats and awards in the NCAA, Lofton Jr. is however far from the radars of the mainstream media, as always in fact. He still gets a place in the USA group which is going to play the U19 World Cup in Latvia in the summer of 2021.

While we are mainly expecting Chet Holmgren and Jaden Ivey, the most hyped prospects in the group, KL Jr. comes out of his box in the semi-final against Canada and especially in the final against the French team, where he scores 15 points in the second half when Victor Wembanyama goes out due to fouls. The phenomenon is exploding on social networks and on YouTube. This international explosion allows him to make a name for himself but the return to Louisiana Tech and the fact that his team does not manage to play the March Madness do not help to offer him spotlights. Fortunately the Draft Combines allow him to get noticed. In vain… While his comrades hit the Top 5 of the 2022 vintage, Lofton Jr. never hears his name on the evening of the Draft… It must be said that his profile is rather atypical, he does not lack ball skills in hand but its weight obviously raises questions, especially when you see what falls on a Zion Williamson, and defensively you have to work hard.

An additional complication but it takes more to sink a player who has always had to prove. He joined Memphis via a two-way contract and it didn’t take long for him to be talked about again. A promising first against the Sixers in the Summer League and then the explosion against his old friend Chet Holmgren (19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists at 8/17). An undrafted player who pushes the second draft pick inside, hard not to get a hype-level boost. The Summer League, we know, some players are a hit without a future and some take advantage of it to launch an NBA career. Will his strong debut get him a spot in Taylor Jenkins’ squad this season? It’s far from won but we have seen in the past that we must not forget Kenneth Lofton Jr. for too long, he always comes back one way or another.

Kenneth Lofton Jr. is a player who stands out by his style, by his career, but someone who has never given up on his NBA dream and who has finally achieved his goal. Beautiful ephemeral story or real surprise to come? The answer is up to him.

Text source: News Star, Erik Hall / Beaumont Enterprise, Matt Faye / panews.com



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