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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mitch Lightfoot included in All-Star contest

Gilbert Christian High's Mitch Lightfoot slams against Arcadia in the Div. II basketball championship game on March 2, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Lightfoot committed to Kansas University on Saturday.

Gilbert Christian High's Mitch Lightfoot slams against Arcadia in the Div. II basketball championship game on March 2, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Lightfoot committed to Kansas University on Saturday.

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Future Kansas University basketball forward Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-foot-8, 217-pound senior from Gilbert Christian High School in Arizona, has accepted an invitation to play in the Ball is Life All-America game April 30, at Long Beach City College in California.

Other top players who have said they’ll be competing include Terrance Ferguson, a 6-6 senior guard from Dallas Advanced Prep who has a final list of KU, Arizona, Baylor, North Carolina, N.C. State and Maryland, plus Arizona signee Rawle Alkins, UCLA signee Lonzo Ball, Baylor signee Mark Vital and Auburn signee Mustapha Heron.

Lightfoot, who is ranked No. 117 nationally in the recruiting Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, recently was named Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Arizona. He averaged 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks his senior season for the 21-6 Knights, who lost in the second round of the state tournament after winning it last year.

Lightfoot had 39 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in a December victory over Laveen Cesar Chavez. He had 29 points and 21 rebounds in a January win over Tempe Marcos deNiza, 30 points in a sectional playoff semifinal win over Seton Catholic and 25 points and 16 rebounds in a 60-57 season-ending playoff loss to Nogales. He scored at least 20 points in 18 games.

“I have known Mitch Lightfoot since his middle school days and am definitely a fan of his, except when he plays against us. We saw a lot of great teams but no player was as valuable and talented as him. I believe what separates him from all the other (Gatorade) candidates is his character and academic focus that makes him a complete student-athlete,” Doug D’Amore, head coach at Catalina Foothills High told Gatorade officials.

Gatorade reports that Lightfoot has a 3.73 grade point average, is a volunteer for an assisted living facility and serves as a mentor for students at elementary charter school.

The Ball is Life game will start at 8 p.m., Central time, and be streamed on Youtube.com according to the event’s official website.

KU, Hoyas halted series at two: The current four-year series between KU and Georgetown will stop at two games — KU victories in the 2014-15 season in Washington, D.C., and in Allen Fieldhouse in 2013-14.

The news was reported at casualhoya.com on Thursday.

However, it actually turned out to be old news. KU schedule maker Larry Keating said the schools decided to cut the four-year series in half before last season’s KU-Georgetown game was contested. Both schools had scheduling conflicts in 2015-16.

Both teams have challenging nonconference schedules in 2016-17. Casualhoya.com reports that the Hoyas have home games against Maryland and UConn and a contest at Syracuse. KU plays Indiana in Honolulu, Duke in New York and likely at Kentucky in a Big 12/SEC Challenge return game. KU also travels to UNLV and plays Nebraska in Allen Fieldhouse. Also the Jayhawks play in the CBE Classic in KC with games against two of these three teams — UAB, Georgia, George Washington.

Embiid update: Former KU center Joel Embiid, who has missed his first two seasons in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers because of a pair of surgeries on the navicular bone in Embiid’s right foot, has returned from his second rehab in Qatar, philly.com reports.

He went to the Middle East with a doctor, plus the team’s head of strength and conditioning and two player development officials.

“It was sort of a smorgasbord of everything you would think,” coach Brett Brown told csnphilly.com. “From diet assessment, really planning and talking about food and his diet, the number of meals and portion sizes ... things to do with his foot as far as bone density and massage therapy and expected soreness from time-to-time ... education on his sleep habits, his sleep patterns. On-court work with skill development ... forming a simple but skilled package environment on an actual court.

“Leaving that and going into the weight room, continuing to develop his body. Doing things with just normal plyometrics and stretching so that the flexibility comes back in because he hasn’t done too much in a few years. It’s not like you’re dealing with a conditioned athlete — he hasn’t done a lot in the past few years so we’re responsible in how we deliver him to those movement aspects of playing basketball again. ... It’s very holistic, very smorgasbord-like, all over the place, all designed to his health,” Brown added.

The Sixers are hoping Embiid will be at full strength in the 2016-17 season, but have conceded there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to play.

Comments

Steve Macy 3 years, 8 months ago

Like all incoming recruits I am excited to see what he has, when he is on campus. All star games? Not so much. RCJH

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

I like the chance to see what kind of general skills they have and what their level of physical development is. From what I've read and seen of Lightfoot he seems like a blend of Traylor/Morningstar/KY. A scrappy 3 1/2 with an outside game, ability to score in transition and decent rebounding.

For better or worse, in an All Star setting players do what they're most comfortable. Once on campus, Coach Self will help them do what's most effective.

Mick Allen 3 years, 8 months ago

Jay, do the comparisons to Sam Dekker have any validity?

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

We'll have to see him in real competition first. Some of the same styles from what you can see at HS... I always chuckle how these media comparisons have to be with a player of the same coloring.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Hope you don't mind me adding my opinion Mick. On paper, they are similar in stature though Lightfoot needs to add more weight to his frame. Sam was a four-year player which gave him plenty of time - which he needed - to develop his game.

When I see Lightfoot's stats, you cannot help but notice that he is putting a lot of effort into both his offense and defense. Close to 14 points per game and 6 rpg. I would say that there is some validity but I agree with Jay that most of the speculation comes from their physical resemblance more than any other factor.

Ask that same question again in about two years and you'll get a much more definitive answer.

Mick Allen 3 years, 8 months ago

I appreciate your input Marius. Staying with the same"color distinction", Keith Van Horn?

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

Another one of those magical players that, according to Joe Ross all have the same skill set, play the same position, and have the same NBA potential because they're 6'8 220.

Welcome to Lawrence Mitch Lightfoot /Perry Ellis /Harrison Barnes....

Martin Rosenblum 3 years, 8 months ago

Anybody know about that UNLV game that was mentioned? Is it part of a "tournament" or just a single game at Thomas and Mack? I am interested in the dates of that game if anybody has that info. I know the CBE games in KC are right before Thanksgiving. Somewhere, it seems I heard that we would be playing in Vegas around holiday time, so that may leave sometime in mid-late December. I'm sure Larry Keating knows about this.

Scott Smetana 3 years, 8 months ago

It's just a single game. I'm also waiting for the date/time. I'm hoping it'll be on a weekend. Could be a fun Jayhawk weekend in LV. Honolulu would be a blast to see the Indiana game, but that's at Pearl Harbor and I imagine tickets will be tough/impossible.
I really wish the Duke game wasn't on a Tuesday night.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 8 months ago

The Indiana game is going to be played somewhere on the Pearl Harbor base itself (probably a hangar) and only available to military personnel to attend based on previous armed forces games. Hopefully this game doesn't get called early due to crappy court conditions like previous games have.

Damian Glaze 3 years, 8 months ago

The game is December 22nd. I will be there with a dozen others from Phoenix.

Jesse Johnson 3 years, 8 months ago

Interestingly Lightfoot is ranked in the 60s in the ESPN100 rankings. Wonder if he will rise in rivals next time they update their rankings.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 8 months ago

Have kind of been watching for this myself. Never sure when a player's ranking improves if it is because of performance or because he signed with Kansas.

Love the 3.73 GPA and the attitude he's shown. Looking forward to seeing him play.

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

He finished the HS season with a flourish. Was AZ player of the year. I like his attitude too. Hope it translates well. I still have Zach Peters flashbacks sometimes...

Joe Ross 3 years, 8 months ago

Ive seen that happen a lot too, where they ink with the Jayhawks and their stock rises. And who knows which is which?

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes his GPA is great to have on the team. It would be incredible if he could become a 5-year guy and contribute like TRel and now Lucas.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 8 months ago

Rivals recently changed the layout of their site and no longer has the most recent update date at the top of their list like they used to so unless you're on there everyday, you won't be able to tell when the most recent update was. Historically, the final list ends up coming out after all the major all star games are completed so it should be happening soon.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 8 months ago

its good to see some news about lightfoot.....another system player you can get more than one year out of....he has put up some good offensive numbers not knowing the level of competion it looks good on paper. Defensively may be a unknown and as we know tough defense will get you playing time.

Robert Brock 3 years, 8 months ago

Lightfoot will get Hunter Mickelson's minutes.

Joe Ross 3 years, 8 months ago

Anybody care to handicap our chances at getting Jackson? I've heard that MSU was coming on strong before Josh made his decision final. My gut says Kansas, but you never know on these things. If he makes his decision early, I wonder if that influences Ferguson's decision or not, who is a heavy Arizona lean (I think). I've considered the possibility that we get neither simply because the decisions are not known at this time. We'd still have the leadership in our guards but we'd be losing some explosiveness (which is not really a "loss" if they never commit, but you get what Im saying...it's lost potential).

Have also been looking at projections for the conference for next season and Texas and Oklahoma are the only other teams in the Big 12 who--with Kansas--are projected to be top 25 when the season opens. Still some recruiting to do between now and then, but Kansas is top 7 or so, Texas around 15ish, and OU in the 20s. At the moment, it looks like Kansas is in decent position to at least tie UCLA's conference streak.

Rodney Pain 3 years, 8 months ago

The current scuttlebutt with Jackson is that he'd rather go to MSU, but his mom doesn't want him there and prefers KU. The reason being is that in Detroit, there are a lot of people that would see him as their meal ticket/way out, and the closer he is to their influence, the worse. I guess it will all come down to what kind of kid Jackson is. Does he listen to the woman that gave him life, or does he go and hang with his boys for a season? I think he'll wind up with us.

As for Ferguson, I don't think Self's actually pursuing him much if at all. Seems he's understandably miffed to have invited Ferg to prom and then get stood up for Alabama of all programs. If Jackson does wind up elsewhere, that may change, but if he says Rock Chalk on Monday, don't expect to hear about Terrance Ferguson again unless he winds up at Baylor.

Rob Bedford III 3 years, 8 months ago

How long before Jay "Stumpy" Scott posts a message about player height?

Steve Macy 3 years, 8 months ago

According to Rivals, Jackson will announce Monday. I am surprised that West Virginia is not getting some love for the pollsters, or is Williams going to the NBA? Anyway, hugs will have the team ready, especially for KU.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Ferguson has been all over the map. Originally, he was considered a Kansas lock who would commit last fall but then came Alabama and Avery to whom he gave his verbal commitment.

Next it was Baylor with the inside lead and Kansas in second place 58% – 26% Now it looks like Arizona is in the lead with Kansas still at second but at around 11%.

Until Ferguson signs, I don't believe a word he says. Not sure at this point that I would want him to come to Kansas except if we lose out on Jackson.

Joseph Bullock 3 years, 8 months ago

Jay, I'm trying to think back to Zack Peters, and if I remember correctly, I think Zack is stronger, but I think Mitch has a better skill set, and is quicker-but I have not seen Mitch, a lot! And Jesse, Mitch will almost assuredly rise in Rivals rankings!

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

I was so optimistic about Zach. I knew people who knew him and heard raves about his personality. Big strong kid with game.

When he got to KU he never fit in. He received one of his concussions, word is, from getting punched in the head by another player for being a dlck. He had to be switched to room with Tyler Self in the end.. Zach seemed to be a little limited in the stones area. RBIII pee-pee joke in 3, 2 1....

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Zach doesn't even play college ball any longer. Supposedly, due to medical advice, he has ended his basketball career.

Joseph Bullock 3 years, 8 months ago

And I'm not sure when Rivals adjusts their ranking, but if it is after the All Star Game that Mitch is playing in, let's see how he does in that game. Of course, if he does well, he could really move up!

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

In answer to your question, Martin, it is a single game. I believe that it is the return portion of a home and home commitment. UNLV played at Lawrence previously.

Although I live in AZ, I haven't had the chance to see Mitch Lightfoot play in person. However, will be good to get more of a look at him. My guess is that he won't have an immediate impact as a player at KU since the level of competition for him in high school isn't as strong as for the high profile recruits. In fact, depending upon how KU finishes in recruiting, he could be a red shirt. One thing is for sure, though, he will have a big impact on the program given his character. He will be a great teammate and a team leader as skills develop further.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 8 months ago

I have never seen Mitch play either but his Youtube videos show nicely. It looks like he has power and has moves down low. Likes to dunk, block, and can pullup move and create the short shot. What I think may be questionable, speed, outside shot, weight and strength against other bigs at his position, and defense. But when I watch his tape, Mitch looks to be a very good add to the team. Hopefully he keeps his confidence and offensive game. Sometimes it seems Bill tears a player down too much before he builds them back up.

Jay Scott 3 years, 8 months ago

.... Destroy his offensive game...

That's what AP Coaches of the year do....

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the highlights clip, Brian. Clearly, the young man can dunk. What I like most is his apparent aggressiveness. All the top recruits can dunk over smaller people. The true test comes when they have to play against people their own size.

What I find most impressive about him are his post moves. He appears to have a soft touch, and as he becomes stronger under the tutelage of Ms. Hudy, he should be able to replicate much of what Perry Ellis gave us at that height. Then, if he has an outside shot to rival Perry's, he could have an even brighter future than I am currently giving him credit for.

The other thing I like is that I can see him as a four year player like Perry. If that indeed happens, his impact on the program could be enormous. In the meantime, just having him on the team is a big plus as he personifies the true definition of a student-athlete, just like Perry.

Robert Brock 3 years, 8 months ago

Jackson commits to Kansas on Monday or Wednesday. I don't know why he omitted Tuesday as a potential commitment day; maybe he is enrolled in league bowling. I have this Lebowsky attitude...Dude!

Robert Brock 3 years, 8 months ago

Jackson commits to Kansas on Monday or Wednesday. I don't know why he omitted Tuesday as a potential commitment day; maybe he is enrolled in league bowling. I have this Lebowski attitude...Dude!

Rene Tinajero-Realtor 3 years, 8 months ago

Jackson on the upcoming season's team= SUPER SWEET...He's the real deal Holyfield!

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