One of the best of Arizona’s 2016 class is off the board as Gilbert Christian forward Mitch Lightfoot has announced that will be suiting up for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.
“My big thing was that I’ve been dreaming of being a Jayhawk since I knew what basketball was,” Lightfoot told Sports360AZ after his announcement. “I was that little kid sitting in the stands watching the Jayhawks play and dreaming about being there. Through hard work and effort, I’ve gotten to fulfill that dream.”
Lightfoot his familiar with the Kansas area as he and his family lived in Kansas City before moving to Arizona in the early 2000s. His familiarity with that part of the country as well as the storied Jayhawk program proved to be a huge factor in his recruitment.
“Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey, guys like that,” mentioned Lightfoot when recalling his favorite past Jayhawks. “I know those guys were there recently but there are obviously a lot of guys who played before like Mario Chalmers hitting the shots and all that stuff. I mean, it’s just awesome to be in the same organization they were.”
Last spring, Lightfoot reopened his recruitment after originally committing to New Mexico. Over the summer he narrowed down a top-five of Arizona, Kansas, Stanford, St. John’s and Utah.
“The dream of playing there, that was kind of the thing,” explained Lightfoot. “You can’t really take that out of me. I’ve always wanted to be a Jayhawk and I’m fulfilling my dream so that is something great I get to do.”
The 6-9 post is very skilled for his size with a great ability to play above the rim. He has developed a nice mid-range game as well. Put that skill set next to the magic which college strength and conditioning coaches provide, Lightfoot could become a great talent at the next level. Lightfoot talked about what Coach Self sees in him and areas he’d like to continue to see him before he arrives in Lawrence.
“He sees me as a hard worker and I get after it,” he stated. “He wants me to play lots of minutes as a freshman and obviously lots of minutes throughout my career. He wants me to be able to be that guy who can stretch the floor and help make them a better team. Not that they aren’t now, they are obviously amazing. I am just want to help bring my talents to them.”
Lightfoot becomes the first Arizona prospect to commit to the Jayhawks out of high school since Royce Woolridge did so out of Sunnyslope in 2010.