Mitch Lightfoot explains what’s next after KU basketball career

After six seasons and 167 games, Mitch Lightfoot is out of college basketball eligibility. The big man’s KU basketball career came to an end in April in New Orleans, as Lightfoot and the other KU super seniors were able to run out their respective eligibility clocks in style. With Lightfoot’s college career over, he answered questions about what might be next for him after KU’s season-ending banquet in mid-April.

“I want to keep playing, but ultimately my goal is to coach,” Lightfoot said. “I want to coach, get back into coaching. And that’s something I aspire to do. I think Coach Self, being with him for six years, you spot things that can contribute to a program and help a team.

If his professional playing career doesn’t work out and he becomes a coach, would Lightfoot want to coach at KU? Or debut elsewhere?

“I think Kansas will always be my home, so obviously I’d rather be here somewhere else in the first place,” Lightfoot said. “KU is a place where I became a man. And I would definitely be [want to coach at] KU.”

There are many precedents in recent years for former basketball players to return to KU and work under bill yourself. Perry Ellis returned to KU for one season and served as assistant video coordinator as he rehabilitated his knee from injury. Of course, three Self staff members played at KU. Case JeremyBrendan Bechard and Brady Morningstar all played at KU and all three won a national championship with KU in 2008.

Currently, Case is one of Self’s three assistant coaches. Bechard is KU’s director of student-athlete development and Morningstar is KU’s video coordinator.

As for Lightfoot’s KU basketball career, he was a four-star freshman out of high school. Lightfoot was a rotation piece in KU’s 2016-17 squad. As a true freshman, he played 25 games and averaged 4.1 minutes per game. In the second year, he supported Udoka Azubuike and was part of KU’s Final Four team that lost to Villanova in the national semi-finals. He has started seven games this season and has averaged 14 minutes per game. In 2018-19, Lightfoot again came off the bench.

Then, ahead of the 2019-20 season, the decision was made that Lightfoot would wear a red shirt. He sat in a team that looked set to make a deep run before the COVID pandemic forced the season to be called off. Lightfoot played again in 2020-21 as a reserve.

Due to the pandemic, Lightfoot was granted an additional year of eligibility. As a super senior in 2021-22, he played all 40 games, starting three. His 4.6 points per game on 66.1 percent shooting from the field were both career highs. Lightfoot was able to end his career with a national title.

Back To Top