Vincent Edward Mendoza
An intriguing player in the class of 2016 that has caught the eye of the Arizona coaching staff is former Tucson native 2016 forward Mitch Lightfoot who currently attends Gilbert Christian in Gilbert, AZ. The 6’8 postman was in attendance at the Under Armour Elite 100 All-Star Camp where PGU caught up with Lightfoot as his recruitment is really taking off as the first part of the July evaluation period came to a close.Originally committing to New Mexico as a sophomore and then decided to reopen his recruitment process in April of this year Lightfoot simply told PGU, “I feel like I opened the door for myself. I feel like I was shooting myself in the foot and not getting to see all of my dreams come true with all of these dream school programs.”
Naming Arizona, Kansas, Stanford, ASU and Cal as some potential suitors for his talents Lightfoot opened up a little more. “I feel like I didn’t make the right decision and I want to go somewhere that’s going to challenge me to better and schools like UofA and Kansas can challenge me to be a better person and player and they have the resources to do that.”
Through the years Lightfoot’s game has transformed from a big man who stays on the low blocks to someone who can step out and hit the 12-15 foot jumper consistently and can knock down three pointers from the perimeter and PGU asked who his game compares to right now.
“Being from Arizona guys like Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Aaron Gordon come to mind, a little mix of each. I have athleticism, I can shoot the rock and handle a bit.” In May, Lightfoot had a chance to really experience McKale Center from a player’s perspective and really came away impressed with the renovations that took place there.
“It was great. I know everyone there, I love all of them. I got to see McKale and how it’s evolved from old McKale to the way it is now. It looks like an NBA arena, you go to the Suns arena and it looks like that and that’s obviously attractive to play in.”
“The locker rooms, hardwood floors in their hallways and I’m like ‘really?’” But even Lightfoot admits he has to be able to see past those things and really focus on what is important during this process. “All the Pac-12 schools have great facilities but for me it’s the relationship with the coach and I want to figure out what that coach wants me to do, how I can get to the next level with their resources and things like that.”
When asked how he is able to sort through the glamour of schools recruiting him like Arizona, Kansas, Stanford, Cal and ASU he does his research with former players. Being from Arizona, a go-to player and family to ask is a familiar name to Arizona fans.
“For me, with UofA I ask former players because they all come back. I was talking to Nick Johnson and my mom talks to his mom and they both said that everything that they told him and promised him came true. That really helps me believe in their program and trust them so it helps a lot.”
Lightfoot also understands that nothing is promised, however, and knows that he’s going to have to work extremely hard. “I’m just going to work hard and give everything I got. I have the motor and that’s what colleges want. I like to be the best motor in the gym, the state and the country.”
With his recruitment really picking up here during the live period of July Lightfoot will begin to schedule his official visits and stay tuned into PGU for more updates regarding Lightfoot and possible suitors as Arizona is right where it needs to be with the top 2016 player in the state.