Zakai Zeigler keeping No. 5 following Chris Lofton's jersey retirement

Zakai Zeigler keeping No. 5 following Chris Lofton’s jersey retirement

Tennessee basketball is retiring Chris Lofton’s No. 5 jersey, goal Zakai Zeigler’s No. 5 isn’t going anywhere.

The sophomore point guard for the Vols, who had a breakout freshman season wearing the No. 5, will keep the number during his Tennessee career.

Tennessee announced on Thursday that Lofton was being added to the rafter at Thompson-Boling Arena, in a ceremony that will take place January 14, when the Vols host rival Kentucky.

Lofton is the fifth Tennessee men’s basketball player to have his jersey retired, joining Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Allan Houston and Dale Ellis.

Zeigler started making his own name with the Vols after signing with Tennessee in late August last year, before quickly became one of the biggest surprises in college basketball.

He was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.8 points per game — he averaged 10.1 per game in SEC play — was second in steals, at 1.7 per game, and third in assists, at 2.7. He was an SEC All-Freshman team pick and was the first Tennessee freshman to be named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team.

Lofton, who starred for the Vols from 2004-08, Lofton was was an Associated Press All-American as sophomore, junior and senior. He was the 2007 SEC Player of the Year and scored 2,131 career points in a Tennessee uniform, which remains fourth most in program history.

He made more than 100 3-pointers in each of his final three seasons at Tennessee and remains the UT and SEC record holder with 431 made. When his career at Tennessee ended, he was third in NCAA Division history with 3-pointers made.

Lofton battled cancer during 2007-08 season, without the bout and his treatments being made public, and ultimately landed on the 2008 Wooden All-American Team. He also led the Vols to a No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in program history during his senior season, while Tennessee won a program-record 31 games.

While winning SEC Player of the Year in 2007, he won the league’s scoring title, averaging a career-high 20.8 points per game and was consensus second-team All American in 2007.

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He averaged 13.2 points per game and shot .465 from the 3-point line as a freshman in 2004-05, the second-best 3-point average in program history. At the time, his 93 3-pointers made during his freshman season was second most in Tennessee history and the most ever from a freshman in the SEC.

Lofton played professionally overseas for 10 years, making stops in Spain, Russia, Turkey, France, Lithuania and South Korea. He completed his Tennessee degree in 2010, was inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named to Tennessee’s All-Century team in 2009.

“It’s remarkable what a legacy Chris left here at Tennessee,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said in a statement. “Since I’ve been here, I can’t count the number of fans who have told me Chris Lofton stories. And I know all too well the type of shot-maker he was in the game’s biggest moments. He’s extremely deserving of this prestigious recognition.”

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