Every year when I do this I marvel at the depth at the bottom of the roster. Jamari Traylor was probably the worst big man on the team last year, but would probably have started for 7ish Big 12 teams last season. That’s nuts.
This year we only go to 10 players in the rotation, and we lead off with freshman Mitch Lightfoot (note: transfers and projected walk-ons are ineligible, so no Malik Newman or Evan Maxwell). Lightfoot is a 6-8 forward who grew up in the area but moved to Arizona when he was five. He is the Gatorade player of the year in Arizona and averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. He ended up ranked 115th overall in the 247 Sports Composite and committed to KU over Arizona, St. John’s, and Utah.
The biggest knocks against Lightfoot at this point seem to be size and a lack of competition in high school. He hasn’t had the reps against top competition in high school and even if you look at his mixtapes he certainly doesn’t have the body of a Big 12 athlete yet:
Lightfoot, however, has dedicated himself over the summer (and also gets to work with Andrea Hudy) so I don’t see that being a huge issue over the course of his career.
I have only seen Lightfoot play sparingly, and famously don’t trust mixtapes or most of the recruiting writers out there, but it does seem like Lightfoot already has a nice jumpshot and can pass the ball well, which will help in Bill Self’s high-low offense, and at 6-8 but mobile he can probably be a versatile defender and matchup problem on offense.
I am also famously not a big fan of comparisons, but I see a lot of Kevin Young in Lightfoot. I think Lightfoot will have more skill by the time he leaves Lawrence, but 150 percent of Kevin Young would be a damn good return, especially from a four year player.