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Lofton rises up to meet All-Star Weekend challenge

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The latest in a line of Memphis Grizzlies to play in the NBA’s Jordan Rising Stars Challenge during the All-Star Break, Kenny Lofton Jr. embraced it as another opportunity.

“It was good to play in the game and have some fun,” said Lofton, who played for Team Jason (coached by retired NBA veteran Jason Terry) in the game Friday night.

Lofton, who has been honing his skills this season with the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G-League affiliate, got a chance to show his touch inside the paint and outside the three-point arc.

His first basket was a three-pointer from the top of the key. Later, he flashed his ball-handling skills in a drive for a layup.

In 10 minutes for Team Jason, which fell 40-32, Lofton scored seven points, along with four rebounds, a steal and a block.

Kenny Lofton Jr. is a double-digit scorer and rebounder for the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G-League affiliate. (Photo: Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

Lofton was a member of the team that represented the G-League, which he has been storming through – 20.6 points, 10.4 rebounds – as the Grizzlies allow him to get the minutes he needs to develop on that level. Among the lessons learned, he said, is to “stay focused.”

“You can look back to the past and dwell off that. I keep my head focused and continue to be better.”

Undrafted coming out of Louisiana Tech, Lofton, a 6’7’ and 270-plus forward, needs only look at Santi Aldama for an example of how to build upon the G-League experience. Aldama has developed into a solid role player for the Grizzlies this season.

The reward for staying the course could be an elevation from a two-way contract to a fully guaranteed one next year.

Lofton’s All-Star Game Weekend schedule also included the NBA G-League Next Up game on Sunday.


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