Kenny Lofton Jr | "I want to come in and work hard every day to be the best I can be"
Kenny Lofton Jr. made five appearances for the Memphis Grizzlies during this year's NBA summer league, the forward out of Louisiana tech has seemingly put the league on notice by dazzling fans with his size and strength during each game.
The 6-foot-7, 275-pound standout has dominated the competition in the paint throughout the Grizzlies’ time in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. He has proven to be too much at times and once again bullied his opponents around the paint, the likes of the Nets summer league forward Yves Pons and Oklahoma's second overall draft pick Chet Holmgren have fallen for his “bully ball” style approach.
Lofton, who unfortunately went undrafted last month, played and started in 33 games during his last season at LA tech. Averaging 16.5 points per game and registering the most double-digit scoring games on the squad with 28 games. Kenny entered the draft highly touted for his ability to bully opponents in the paint and score in a variety of ways including a three point shot. He has proven to be able to work from virtually all over the court, especially down low. Known for his nifty footwork in the paint and tight handles which help him lose smaller defenders, he often has little issues scoring.
The newest member of the Grizzlies also won a gold medal with the USA Basketball U19 team at the FIBA World Cup last summer in Latvia. Teaming up with some of the NBA newest brightest stars including Chet Holmgren and Patrick Baldwin Jr. He announced his intention to enter draft consideration while maintaining his college eligibility in March.
The Grizzlies signed Lofton to a two-way contract after the draft and believe he can hopefully develop into a key player for the future. He will likely be gaining game time in the NBA G League this season, but he definitely has the potential to eventually earn a top spot in the organisation.
In the meantime, be on the lookout to see Lofton working more in the paint and improving his game ready for the 22/23 season.
An incredible summer league for yourself, multiple must watch games. An instant fan favourite, how would you describe your experience as a whole?
It was a great experience. I got a chance to meet some great people and play against some good competition. As far as my performances, I just wanted to 1st go out and win each game and 2nd prove that I can play at this level and show what I can do.
You have signed a two way contract with the Grizzlies, how was that experience signing your first NBA contract and what are you most excited for?
Awesome experience and a life-long dream to sign a contract with an NBA team. And what a great organization it is to sign with the Memphis Grizzlies. I want to come in and work hard every day to be the best I can be to be a part of this great team and organization. I’m most excited to play in my 1st game of the season and to hear the fans.
Taking home gold with team USA in the under-19 world cup last year, how was that experience in Latvia?
Great experience, I got a chance to compete at a high level against some of the countries best players. I established life-long friendships with my teammates that we will cherish the rest of our lives. We all keep in touch and talk on the phone. I was very glad to represent my country, the City of Port Arthur, TX and Louisiana Tech University.
Lastly, a player who can do it all, pass, shoot and play under the basket. Which players did you watch growing up and what helped you mold your game into what it is now?
My dad used to send me videos of Hakeem Olajuwon to study his footwork and his body position in the post. I really like looking at James Harden and Nikola Jokic and myself. I was a guard early in my career until the 11th grade and I grew from 6’0 to 6’5 from my freshman year to my sophomore year. I stayed in the gym working on my game with various trainers, playing against whoever would be in the gym and just training to be ready for my chance to show what I can do. I’ve watched some of Zach Randolph and added some of his game to my game.