Transfer Portal Target: St. Bonaventure’s Kyle Lofton

Todd Golden and his staff have stayed active in the transfer portal and this time they’ve contacted another top target on the market, St. Bonaventure’s Kyle Lofton.

 

With the offers Florida has put out recently and the targets they have pursued it’s clear that another point guard is high on their priority list. The staff loves what VMI transfer Trey Bonham brings, but they’d love another option to insure 40 minutes of quality lead ball handler play and another look to one of the most key positions on the floor.

 

Lofton is a 6’3”, 190 pound point guard who just completed his fourth season at St. Bonaventure where he put in a ton of quality work, and I mean a TON. 

 

In 116 career games for the Bonnies, Lofton started 116 of them. St. Bonaventure has been known as a team that rides their starters hard and Lofton was the poster boy, averaging 37.4, 38.4, 38.4 and 38.5 minutes per game in each season for a career average of 38.1 minutes per game for four seasons. Almost all of those minutes were played exclusively at point guard, so he is one of the most experienced point guards you’ll ever see in college basketball. 

 

For that reason you can see why Lofton has interest from all over the high major level, including Purdue, Arizona, Texas Tech, Tennessee, and Florida among others.

 

Last season Lofton averaged 12.8 points, 5.9 assists, and 3.6 rebounds, and over his four year career averaged 13.9 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds, so you know he’s a consistent and productive player. Lofton’s role at St. Bonaventure, particularly last year, was a traditional pick and roll ball handling point guard. He was a solid decision maker who would draw defenders after a dribble or two and would often look for his teammates before hunting his own shot, something you can see with his high assist numbers. Ending up 97th in the country in assist rate he was constantly finding shots for his teammates, and given that St. Bonaventure was a poor shooting team from behind the arc, it’s likely he could have had much better assist numbers if he was surrounded with more shooting. 

 

Lofton has decent size for a point guard at 6’3” and 190 pounds and it allows him to see passing lanes and create angles to make those passes, and it also helps him in the paint where he is a capable finisher and has one of the better floaters in the country. His finishing in the paint is important, because the one flaw in his game is his outside shot. Lofton is a career 30% three-point shooter who shot 28% and 24% the last two seasons. Given how many minutes he has played and how he’s consistently been a below-average shooter, expecting his efficiency to improve at this stage of his career could be optimistic. 

 

If you are looking for signs of optimism you could look at his mid-range shooting which is actually above average, and he was in the 68th percentile nationally in shooting off the dribble. Free throws haven’t been an issue for him either as he’s a career 82% free throw shooter who has been incredibly consistent, shooting 84%, 81%, 81%, and 82% his three seasons. You can see that Lofton is a bit more of a touch shooter than a mechanically consistent one which serves him well in the mid-range but isn’t quite what works from behind the arc. 

 

What has coaches really excited for Lofton, besides his veteran savvy and passing ability, is his defense. Lofton has been a stout point of attack defender throughout his career and when you have a point guard who can set the tone like that defensively that mindset usually trickles down to the rest of the team. He’s quick on his feet and skilled at negotiating screens, important defensive skills for guards to have in modern basketball.

Of course, this was defensive quality he was able to deliver while playing nearly the entire basketball game. If he’s able to consistently guard while having to ration his energy for a 40 minute game, you can only imagine how he’d be able to dog opposing players if he knew he only had to play 26 minutes a game. 

 

For Florida the pitch to Lofton will be a starting role around a solid core that includes Colin Castleton, Kowacie Reeves, and Will Richards among others. When Trey Bonham committed he knew he wasn’t going to be the unquestioned starter and he was aware the Gators would be looking for an older point guard. Some of the other programs that are after him have quality talent and a proven track record with point guards, but the Gators are confident they can be in this one until the very end and are making a big push for his services. There aren’t many quality point guards remaining on the market, so Florida may be pushing a lot of chips to the middle of the table for Lofton.

 

Eric Fawcett
Eric hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His blend of sports and comedy has landed his words on ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @Efawcett7.