Mitch Lightfoot’s timely emergence

In what has been a more up and down season than usual for the Jayhawks, Mitch Lightfoot’s improvement has been a resounding bright spot.

Mitch Lightfoot, who may be better known as Mitch “2019 Big 12 Player of the Year” Lightfoot to Inside the Paint listeners, came into the season as a question mark for the Jayhawks. The sophomore big man was expected to get some minutes, but not too many.

However, right before the season started Lightfoot’s role suddenly grew. Freshman Billy Preston became ineligible and would eventually leave the team without playing a minute for Kansas. All of a sudden, Lightfoot was the first big man off the bench and was being asked to play meaningful minutes in every game.

The year started off a bit shaky for Lightfoot. His minutes would go up and down based on the caliber of team the Jayhawks were facing. When he did enter the game he always brought maximum effort, but would often get lost on offense and struggled against stronger big men on defense.

However, the start of conference play and specifically the last five games have brought on a different Lightfoot. Over the last five games, Lightfoot is averaging almost 19 minutes per game, showing how much Bill Self has come to trust him.

Throughout the season, Lightfoot has also developed into the Jayhawks’ best rim protector. He is a willing charge-taker and excels at shot blocking, especially in the weakside help position.

The stats back up Lightfoot’s defensive prowess. Lightfoot has a block percentage of 12.2 percent, which is an estimate of the opponent two-point field goal attempts blocked by a player when he is on the floor. That number is nearly double of the second-closest Jayhawk, Udoka Azubuike, who has a 6.7 percent block percentage on the season.

Lightfoot also has the highest defensive box plus/minus on the team at 8.3. That number is an estimate of the defensive points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player.

The culmination of Lightfoot’s growth came in a win Tuesday night against TCU, when Lightfoot got the start. The move was more likely due to Lagerald Vick’s recent poor play and lack of effort rather than Lightfoot’s steady improvement, but it is telling that Lightfoot got the nod over the other bench options.

Lightfoot didn’t disappoint in the first start of his career. His box score won’t blow you away, scoring only six points, but that doesn’t tell you the whole story. During his 22 minutes on the floor, Lightfoot brought consistent effort and did exactly what the team needed him to do to stay in the game. He protected the rim on defense and helped facilitate the Jayhawks’ offense by setting good screens and getting several good looks up late in the shot clock.

Time will tell whether Lightfoot’s input into the starting lineup is more of a short stint to send a message to Vick or a long-term solution for Self. Either way, it proved that he is a reliable option in big games for the Jayhawks, something that was not the case when the season started.

Jackson Hodges

I’ve been a KU fan as long as I can remember, which I chalk up to my love of basketball and the influence of my brothers. I am a graduate of Oklahoma State, but I routinely wore my blue in Gallagher-Iba (yes, I was that guy). I grew up idolizing Wayne Simien and Christian Moody, and I think the post-entry pass is a lost art. I hope you enjoy my work.

15 thoughts on “Mitch Lightfoot’s timely emergence

  • July 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Wonderful, what a webpage it is! This web site presents valuable information to us,
    keep it up.

  • July 22, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information? Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    Feel free to visit my page Carmela

  • July 23, 2021 at 1:33 am

    you’re in point of fact a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is
    amazing. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive
    trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece.
    you’ve performed a fantastic process in this subject!

    My web-site; sky777 download android (

  • July 23, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Hey! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post
    or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we
    could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

    Take a look at my blog – Green Leaf Hills CBD Oil

  • July 23, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.

    I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting
    things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this
    article. I want to read more things about it!

  • July 24, 2021 at 4:12 am

    Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to return once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  • July 26, 2021 at 8:47 am

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this issue here on your blog.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *