What Kyle Lofton Brings The Gators

In basketball the person with the ball in their hands is often the most important and for that reason Florida’s pursuit of a veteran point guard for the 2022-23 season was of pivotal importance. For that reason, it was massive news on Friday as St. Bonaventure transfer Kyle Lofton announced his commitment to the Gators with Florida beating out some big time programs like Arizona, Purdue, and the team that was considered to be their biggest competition for the New Jersey native, Rutgers. 

 

When it comes to the point guard position experience is highly valued and Lofton has more of that than just about anyone in the country. In four years at St. Bonaventure Lofton played in 116 games–and started every single one of them. When he got on the floor for the opening tip, he knew he’d be on that hardwood for a long time. Lofton averaged 38.1 minutes per game for the Bonnies (not a typo) who notoriously ride their starters almost exclusively, and that means he has been through an astonishing number of reps and in-game situations that will prepare him for the high major level.

 

Lofton will be a graduate transfer, playing a fifth year due to the extra year of eligibility due to COVID.

 

Last season Lofton averaged 12.8 points, 5.9 assists, and 3.6 rebounds for a quality Bonnies team that finished 78th in KenPom and was in at-large consideration for the first couple months of the season before taking a couple of unfortunate losses in Atlantic-10 play. His career averages are 13.9 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds, so he has been extremely consistent which should help Florida’s projections for what he could be as a Gator.

 

Lofton is a pure point guard who loves to get his teammates involved and makes responsible decisions with the basketball. He was 97th in the country in assist rate last season and he did it while taking care of the rock–his 18% turnover rate would be the best the Gators have seen since Chris Chiozza’s senior season.

 

St. Bonaventure used him heavily in ball screens where he used poise to manipulate defenses before making a decision as you can see in these clips.

 

 

 

At this point it’s worth noting that St. Bonaventure was an awful three-point shooting team and you can see that with how they’re getting guarded. Despite not having much floor spacing Lofton is still able to get into the paint and find dump offs for his rolling bigs and with some better shooters around him he could have ended up with even more assists and his pick and roll game could end up being even better at Florida.

 

We won’t know for sure what Florida’s offense is going to look like under Todd Golden but it’s a fair assumption that it will look somewhat like it did at San Francisco and somewhat what things looked like at Richmond–where newly hired assistant coach and offensive coordinator Kevin Hovde last worked. At both San Francisco and Richmond they utilized Princeton concepts and some five-out spacing with the center out at the perimeter or at the high post getting the ball and becoming a passer. That means that Florida’s point guard won’t always have the ball in their hands and they need to be effective without it. In the case of Lofton that should be an issue as he was an active cutter at St. Bonaventure. 

 

 

If there is one knock on Lofton’s game it’s his outside shot. He’s a career 30% shooter from deep, and he only hit 28% of his long ball attempts last season. Considering how many minutes he has played over four years with consistently below-average three-point performance it may be unfair to expect any improvements in year five of his college career. However, he showed nice touch on pull-ups (largely in the mid-range) but later in the season started to extend his range to beyond the arc.

 

 

 

Lofton is a career 82% free throw shooter and also showed touch on his pull-up attempts, so perhaps he will be able to figure out the three-point shot and become more effective.

 

Florida now has a seasoned veteran at point guard who will be a steadying presence for a team that will be largely built of transfers. His willingness to move the ball and create shots for teammates will be huge to balance out the talent Florida has on the roster and he appears to be a perfect compliment to Colin Castleton, Kowacie Reeves, and the other quality Gators.



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.