Originally published October 24, 2015 at 03:26p.m., updated October 24, 2015 at 05:12p.m.

Mitch Lightfoot to play basketball for Jayhawks

Arizona prep forward, who was born in KC, fulfills lifelong dream to be a Jayhawk


Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound senior power forward from Gilbert (Arizona) Christian High, has orally committed to play basketball at Kansas University next season.

Lightfoot, who averaged 17.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.8 blocks a game last season for Arizona’s Div. II state championship team, made the announcement after the slam dunk contest at the Arizona Preps Fall Showcase in Glendale, Arizona.'s No. 117-rated player chose KU over Arizona, Stanford, Utah and St. John’s.

Lightfoot, who calls himself a lifelong KU fan, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, moving to Arizona when he was 6. He lived in Tucson until last year when the family moved to Gilbert.

“My sights have always been on Kansas. It’s where I started and that’s where I’m going to finish,” said Lightfoot, who decommitted from New Mexico last April once it became apparent he had emerged as a big-time prospect following the state-title season.

“I met with my coach,” he said of AAU coach John Ortega and "he said, ‘What do you want out of this (re-opening recruitment)?’ I said, ‘I want to play at Kansas,’’’ Lightfoot said. “It’s been my goal since I knew what basketball was, ever since then. I’ve been working my butt off to try to get there. To all the kids sitting in the stands watching the Jayhawks, wanting to be a Jayhawk, you can definitely do it,” Lightfoot added.

Lightfoot — he said he has “aunts, uncles, cousins, a ton of family back there (in KC area),” — said his official visit solidified his decision to accept Bill Self’s scholarship offer. He said he made his decision official a couple days ago.

“My thing was I took all these visits. I was going to go where I felt comfortable. That was by far, Kansas. I felt like I was home there and it is home,” said Lightfoot, who also is a Chiefs fan (“we had season tickets for 20 years”) and Royals fan (“I watched the game last night).”

More on the commitment at and in Sunday’s Journal-World.


Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 3 months ago

Glad to be the first to welcome Mitch Lightfoot to the University of Kansas! I'm betting Mitch will jump up in the rankings as Mason did in the year before becoming a Jayhawk. It's nice to have one in the book.

I hope Lightfoot has the patience to stick around as I don't see him getting major minutes next year and maybe not the next year either but it seems that most Bigs really hit their stride in their third year at Kansas whether or not by redshirting or needing to wait a year for eligibility requirements. I think Withey is an excellent example as I thought he would never play major minutes but he proved his worth in his junior and senior seasons. TRob had his best year as a junior and the Morris brothers also had their best years as juniors.

Lightfoot and Coleby could be key players as KU transitions with many experienced players leaving in the next two years and with the new players coming in.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully we get somebody else too... to help be key players next year.

Rick McGowwan 5 years, 3 months ago

Mitch is a 4 year player. He'll be similar to Travis where his best attributes will be a motor and leadership early and then more of an impact later on. He isn't going to the NBA early. He's a nice program player, but doubt he cracks top 80 in recruiting this year--which is fine. He's a good player and a good get and will have a nice career at KU before it's all said and done.

Andy Hess 5 years, 3 months ago

Comparing this kid to Travis Releford is an insult to Travis Releford. I know I'm just beating a dead horse, but I am completely at a loss as to how this guy even got an offer. Are we that desperate? I'm legitimately confused by this.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe Self & Company know more about him than you do? People said the same thing about Withey, Mason, Reed, etc...they all turned out to be good decisions didn't they?

You've got to pick up some players that will be here more than 1-2 years, he's one of them. You need some glue guys to hold the OAD guys together.

Brian Wilson 5 years, 3 months ago

Lightfoot is 136 overall by Rivals with a composite of 141. He is ranked 22nd at the PF position. We have 13 scholarships any given year, 3 of which IMO are for players that fit his description. But, I am puzzled by recruiting Power Forwards that are a short 6'8".

Kent Richardson 5 years, 3 months ago

I imagine it is because there are tons of 6'8" guys and few of the 6'10" dudes who are picked up and fed paid ladies before we get to them.

Gerry Butler 5 years, 3 months ago

Saying he could be another Travis Releford- - -not yet a Travis, I to am not just wettin my pants over this commitment BUT I feel he will be a very quality player in time, a good 4 year player, we sure the hell not going to get nothing but one & done players, don't want all one & dones. like was stated I think maybe Coach Self and staff might, just maybe know a little more about this guy then you or me. If coach Self feels good enough about him to offer, then I'll take my chances with his knowledge, over some one else. Like I said at another site could be also that there is more to this then what we have knowledge, could be the Coach knows we have lost out on some of the others, or have lost to much ground and those players will not be committing here. But I also do not agree with another post where the person said, well hey its 1 more commit then we had a little bit ago. That whole theory train of thought stinks. that leads a peson to believe that we should just grab a body to be grabbing a body,thank God that's not the way Coach Self thinks. I think we will be just fine. I still feel we will end up in some kind of combination of Bolden- - - -Herarld or Herarld - - - - Azubilke or Herarld- - -- - Allen, or Bolden- - -Allen whatever just like in the past we will be just fine ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

John Randall 5 years, 3 months ago

You must be remembering TRel as a 4,5 year veteran ... forgetting how hard he worked to get to that level. Expecting Lightfoot not to benefit from several years of the development so many KU players show is simply short-sighted and reveals your own immaturity and impatience.

Erich Hartmann 5 years, 3 months ago

Imagine that 6'10 frame after Huditioning, could go from 210lbs to 225 lbs? What if he has a shot-blocking knack? What if he grows a final inch and is 6'11?

Could he be better than Lucas? Mickelson?

What if he is a 6'10 version of Kevin Young's "motor"?

SO many unanswered questions...but a LOT of time for KU nation to get the answers...

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