By Kevin Sweeney
Perhaps the most well-traveled man in college basketball is on the move again.
Highly-sought-after grad transfer guard Zach Lofton has committed to New Mexico State, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN. NMSU will be Lofton’s fifth school, as he has also spent time at Illinois State, Minnesota, San Jacinto College, and Texas Southern.
Lofton is a massive get for Chris Jans’s new staff at New Mexico State. Following his announcement that he’d be grad transferring, numerous power conference programs reached out, such as NC State, Pitt, South Carolina, and Ole Miss. However, Lofton recently visited NMSU and has decided to commit to the Aggies. Lofton provides a huge scoring punch for an NMSU squad that will look to repeat as WAC champs and reach their second straight NCAA Tournament.
The one thing Lofton has done everywhere he’s been is score. At Illinois State in 2013-14, he averaged 11.3 points per game. At Texas Southern last season, he posted 16.8 points per game and was named SWAC Player of the Year. While not a very good 3-point shooter, Lofton excels at getting to the basket and scoring around the rim, and is also adept at drawing fouls and earning points at the charity stripe.
Lofton can easily be slotted into a 3-guard starting backcourt at New Mexico State that will also feature talented Ohio State transfer AJ Harris and high-scoring wing Sidy Ndir. Combine that trio with a pair of bigs in Jemerrio Jones (9.7 ppg, 8.4 prg) and Eli Chuha (12.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg), and you get perhaps the best starting 5 in the WAC.
While I had been solid on Grand Canyon as a clear favorite in the WAC this coming season, this move changes things. To me, the WAC is now a toss-up between these two excellent clubs.