If Chris Lofton’s legacy as one of the most popular University of Tennessee athletes ever to wear an orange jersey was in any kind of doubt before, his revelation last week that he privately battled testicular cancer during the summer between his junior and senior college basketball seasons officially cemented his place in Vols lore for the ages.
Lofton, who was named the Southeastern Conference’s Most Valuable Player following his junior season but got off to a confounding slow start to his senior campaign before finally getting untracked and helping lead the Vols to their most wins in program history, explained publicly for the first time the extreme peaks and valleys he’s privately endured over the past year. Lofton, whose quiet and workmanlike demeanor has endeared him to UT hoops fans since he was signed after the 2005 season, said it was important for him to keep his diagnosis with cancer, and his subsequent road to recovery, out of the public eye.
“I would like to thank everyone for respecting my privacy during the past year and I hope that they continue to do so,” Lofton remarked at a press conference a day after the story was initially reported by espn.com. “This has been a very difficult time for me and my family but it has brought us closer together. I have been very blessed that we were able to catch everything so early so that now I am OK.”
Lofton’s cancer reportedly signaled a positive result on a random drug test that was ordered by the NCAA during the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Lofton and his family were first told of the possibility of cancer by members of the UT coaching staff and administration in the wee hours following the Vols’ Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State on March 22, 2007.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.