When people think about the Kansas Jayhawks, many know that they are one of the biggest and most storied programs in college basketball history. With a rich history that has been decorated with past and current NBA stars having donned the famous Jayhawk blue, playing in Lawrence, KS is usually high on the list of future recruits.
However, this year has been a bit of a different story for coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks. With over half of the top 100 recruits in the Class of 2016 off the board, the Jayhawks are still looking to leave their mark on the recruiting trail. Players like Perry Ellis are gone after the 2015-16 season, placing an emphasis on incoming recruits, especially at the forward positions.
On Sunday, the Jayhawks dipped into the recruiting pool and landed their first recruit listed inside the ESPN Top 100 rankings for the class of 2016.
Power forward Mitchell Lightfoot committed to play at Kansas.
Lightfoot is a 6’8”, 210-pound power forward from Tucson, Arizona. In ESPN’s rankings of the Class of 2016, Lightfoot is the 99th-ranked recruit overall in the class, and the top player from the state of Arizona.
He is a lean power forward with a high motor and long arms that allow for him to be a strong presence in the paint, especially on the defensive end. His shot blocking ability and timing are both impressive, as he picks his spots when to go up and block shots well.
Lightfoot has the ability to stretch the floor and shoot jumpers with range out to the three point arc. In the paint, he has good bounce and can finish with dunks above the rim or use his timing to earn tip-ins around the basket. His ability to stretch the floor with his shooting and abilities around the rim will cause problems for opposing defenses moving forwards.
One area of concern in Lightfoot’s game is his ability to finish in contact. He needs to add some size to his frame if he wants to become an impact player at Kansas, as he will square off against some of the nation’s best players in the Big 12. This will allow for him to maintain his space in the block, and not get moved out by bigger forwards.
With players like Perry Ellis, Hunter Mickelson and Jamari Traylor leaving the front court after the 2015-16 season, and Cheick Diallo being a potential one-and-done prospect, Mitchell Lightfoot could be a go-to prospect for Bill Self in his first year with Kansas.
Lightfoot chose Kansas over the likes of Arizona, Stanford, St. John’s, and Utah.