Yes, Chris Lofton is a fan of Rick Barnes. No, Lofton hasn’t talked to him about his iconic shot that took down Barnes and his Texas Longhorns team at Thompson-Boling Arena in 2006.

“People bring it up a little bit around me,” Lofton said Thursday during an interview on The Swain Event. “It was a great shot.”

The memories aren’t all that positive, though. The game was played on Dec. 23, 2006, and the Vols were ready to get home for Christmas.

“I just remember going to overtime,” Lofton said of what ultimately was a 111-105 Tennessee win in OT after he scored 35 points. “I was kind of mad because after that game we were all ready to go home."

Lofton hit seven 3-point shots in the win, including the deep trey over Kevin Durant to give Tennessee an 88-87 lead with 18 seconds left in regulation. 

“We had to go to overtime," Lofton continued, "and that kind of extended our stay. I’m just glad we won that game and went into Christmas break on a win.”

Now Lofton, in town this week to promote his basketball camp, Rocky Top Skills Camp July 16-18 at St. Joseph Middle School in Knoxville, is glad to have Barnes on his side.

“He instills toughness,” Lofton said, “you know you have to work hard, defense. When you have those keys, that’s always a recipe for wins.”

And he wasn’t caught off guard last season, as so many were, when Barnes led Tennessee to a 26-9 record, a No. 3 in the NCAA Tournament and the program’s first conference title since Lofton was on roster in 2008.

“I wasn’t surprised how they did last year,” Lofton said, “because I knew it was coming. The way they work, just the impact (the coaching staff) has on (the players). I wasn’t surprised. I’m expecting big things this year too.”

Lofton was asked during the interview which current Tennessee player reminds him most of himself. After a pause, he came up with redshirt junior guard Lamonte Turner.

It was Turner, after all, that hit so many big shots last season, never afraid of the moment.

“He’s in the gym, he shoots a lot,” Lofton said of Turner. “He’s getting a lot of shots up. So I would say him, probably. And he’s not afraid of the big shot, to shoot the big shot. I guess I’d have to say him.”

Turner and his teammates were getting up shots this week, while Lofton was in and out of Pratt Pavilion, despite it being an off week for the Vols.

That presence left an impression on Lofton.

“This team,” he said, “they all put in the work, the extra work. I think they had this week off and I went in there Monday or Tuesday and they were all in there shooting. Everyone had a certain time that they would come in. Lamonte was shooting. And this is their off week. And they’re getting it in.

“That’s what it takes and I think that’s the culture Coach Barnes has brought — you have to love this. If you want to be successful, you have to love this.”