The honor came well-deserved after one of the better seasons statistically in program history.
The post-season accolades that saw Kyle Lofton named First Team All-Atlantic 10 following his sophomore season were appreciated just a little bit more by the New Jersey native.
After all, there was a time that this much success this soon in his collegiate career seemed like a long shot.
"Before college I was overlooked a lot," he remembers. "I was going to go to junior college or Division II. It's a blessing (being named all-conference). I feel blessed that putting the hard work in showed and people noticed it."
Indeed, chances are there are few around the country, and especially in the A-10, that are overlooking Lofton now.
A starter – and more impressively, a captain – from his first game with the Brown and White, he led the nation in minutes last year (38.4 per game), paced the A-10 in assists (6.0 apg) and became the 13th player in Bonnies history to be named to the A-10 First Team.
The numbers are undeniably impressive. His 186 total assists last year ranked third in Bona single-season history (behind only SBU All-Time Team members Marques Green and Jaylen Adams). His 4.8 assists per game over his first 65 career contests would rank fourth among all SBU players in the 100-year history of the program. He got stronger as the year went on after battling injury prior to last season with his jump shot consistently improving as he shot 41 percent from distance and nearly 46 percent overall during conference play.
But the numbers only tell part of the story.
"He has a really, really high basketball IQ and he's a great competitor," head coach Mark Schmidt said of his point guard. "How many times does it happen that a freshman gets voted team captain? He just has those leadership skills. He is the leader; he's the one that makes us go. We're lucky to have him."
Part of the comfort level stemmed from having friend and former Putnam Science Academy teammate Osun Osunniyi joining him at St. Bonaventure – and their chemistry on the court has been evident ever since.
"We just gelled from day one," Lofton said of his fellow New Jersey native. "He's quick on his feet; he helps a ton on defense. "He's a wiry big, he catches lobs and that is a big help."
Stepping into the shoes of one of the best point guards in program history, current Portland Trailblazer Jaylen Adams, Lofton says he never felt the pressure that could seemingly go with being in that position as a freshman. If he did, it rarely if ever showed in a debut campaign that saw him earn Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team status and a spot on the All-Tournament Team after serving as a key figure in Bona's run to the A-10 title game.
"I didn't feel like it was any pressure," says Lofton, who keeps in touch with Adams and is friends with the former Bonnies star who is now a teammate to his favorite player, Damian Lillard. "I was just playing my game and focusing on what I needed to do."
In an off-season unlike any other, Lofton was able to have access to a gym where he and friends worked out each day. He and the rest of the team met over Zoom nearly every day, including for group workouts with Bonnies director of strength and conditioning Darryn Fiske.
"It really helped having those Zooms. It helped the new guys because we didn't have a chance to meet with them in person," he said. "Being able to see their faces and get to talk to them helped us gel and get comfortable with each other. Right now over the summer we've just been focused on taking it slow, day-by-day, getting back into basketball shape."
Lofton enters his junior season just 72 points shy of 1,000 and just outside the program's all-time top-50 in scoring. While he appreciates the individual honors, just one achievement is on his very short list of goals as season prep gets underway.
"I don't have any self-goals," he said. "My only goal is to win an Atlantic 10 championship."
- By Scott Eddy, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletics Communications