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The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona inducts Kenny Lofton into Arizona Ring of Honor

Kenny+Lofton%2C+a+former+Arizona+basketball+player+was+inducted+into+the+ring+of+honor+at+halftime+during+the+Wildcats+game+against+Oregon+on+March+2.+After+Arizona+Lofton+joined+the+MLB.
Jay Corella
Kenny Lofton, a former Arizona basketball player was inducted into the ring of honor at halftime during the Wildcats game against Oregon on March 2. After Arizona Lofton joined the MLB.

The No. 6 Arizona men’s basketball team inducted Kenny Lofton into the Arizona Ring of Honor during halftime of the University of Arizona vs. University of Oregon game on Saturday, March 2. Lofton played for the Wildcats for four seasons (1985-1989) before pursuing a career in the MLB.

“This is an honor that was unexpected,” Lofton said. “Coming back to McKale and seeing all the guys’ names up in the rafters, [it’s] just knowing how special this is.”

Lofton appeared in 128 games with Arizona, starting in 54, averaging 4.8 points, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. During Lofton’s junior season, the Wildcats reached the Final Four for the first time in the program’s history. Led by Arizona’s all-time winningest head coach, Lute Olson, and future NBA stars Steve Kerr and Sean Elliott, the Wildcats posted a 35-3 record, alongside seven top-25 wins, including five over top-10 teams.

“Lute was always teaching. That’s what I learned from him,” Lofton said when reflecting on Olson. “Teaching and learning the game and the little things that can become major later on, you have to learn from them.”

Lofton, coming off the bench for Arizona, remembered the Wildcats’ historic Final Four run, including their 18-point statement win over the University of North Carolina in the Elite Eight.

“People saw that North Carolina was the team to beat,” Lofton said. “For us to go out there and beat them the way we did, people knew we had something special.”

Yet, Lofton isn’t known for his basketball career. In addition to playing basketball at Arizona, Lofton was also a member of the Arizona baseball team.

“I knew baseball was probably my future growing up, but again, where I grew up, I had to play basketball because of the full scholarship. I couldn’t afford a part-time, so basketball became that,” Lofton said.

In addition to playing basketball at Arizona, Lofton joined the Arizona baseball team his junior year. Despite seeing limited action, his exceptional speed and potential were recognized by scouts, including Clark Crist of the Houston Astros, who drafted him in the 17th round of the 1988 MLB draft.

“Clark Crist was part of the baseball scouting that saw something in me,” Lofton said.

Over his 16-year career, Lofton played for 11 different teams, earning numerous accolades, including six All-Star appearances (1994–1999) and four Gold Glove Awards. Lofton finished his career with 2,428 hits, a .299 career batting average and 622 career stolen bases, which ranked 15th all-time at the time of his retirement.

The 11 teams Lofton played for during his MLB career include the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers.


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