Kansas basketball seniors Mitch Lightfoot, Chris Teahan announce plans to return for super senior season
Kansas seniors Mitch Lightfoot and Chris Teahan announced Friday that they are planning to take advantage of the NCAA’s waiver for an extra year of eligibility and will return to KU for the 2021-22 season.
In the news release announcing their return, KU revealed that fellow senior Marcus Garrett would be honored during Saturday’s Senior Night festivities at Allen Fieldhouse surrounding KU’s 7 p.m. game with No. 2 Baylor.
Shortly after the release, Garrett met with the media to discuss Saturday’s game against No. 2 Baylor and the senior leader revealed that him going through Senior Night does not guarantee that he’s leaving Kansas.
“I haven’t ruled it out,” Garrett said of returning for a second senior season. “But it’ll be Senior Night.”
Garrett said he would make a final decision, “after the season when I sit down and talk with coach (Bill Self).”
Self made it clear that he would love to have Garrett back for another season, but he added that their conversations about the topic had been limited and mostly about his plans for Senior Night.
Self did, however, share some of what he talked to Garrett about.
“If this season plays out the way I hope it does for you, you need to try to go. And if it doesn’t, you know, you can always come back and I’d love to have you back,” Self recalled telling Garrett. “So that has been the extent of the conversation. It hasn’t been anything remotely serious other than the fact that I do hope he plays well from here on out to put him in position where he can make that decision. I don’t want that decision to be made for him. I’d rather him make that decision.”
Lightfoot, who redshirted the 2019-20 season, will be back for his sixth season with the Jayhawks. Teahan, a walk-on from Kansas City, will return for his fifth season with the program.
“This year, given all the challenges with COVID-19 and what else has been going on, it was the best interest for myself to come back for a sixth year and get the most out of my time at KU,” Lightfoot said in the release. “One of the words of wisdom coach (Bill) Self had for me was, ‘Everyone is in a hurry to grow up and it should be the other way around. We should stay young and get the most out of it.’ I took that to heart and am looking to do just that.”
Said Self of Lightfoot’s decision to stick around: “I love Mitch Lightfoot. I love him. I would want him around me every day regardless if he was still playing ball or not. I just think he adds energy and adds joy to others’ lives. Regardless of what his role is, regardless of how many points he scores, regardless of whatever, I know I’ve got a guy out there that’s 100% loyal and on my team through whatever we’re going through.”
Self’s thoughts on the return of Teahan, whose family he has now been around for more than 10 years, were equally heartfelt.
“I love having him around,” Self said. “And his ability to put his handprint on our situation, being a walk-on and not playing a lot, I think has been about as good as anybody that we’ve had in that walk-on type position. I’m very happy he wants to come back, too, and to have a fun senior year. That’s what I talked to those guys about.”
The two Kansas veterans and close friends also announced their decision on KU’s social media channels through a video inside Allen Fieldhouse.
After a little dramatic build-up designed to make the viewer believe that they were saying goodbye, the two Jayhawks flipped the script and announced their return.
“Thank you,” they said together before Teahan added, “But we’re not going anywhere.”
“The show goes on,” Lightfoot said, adding, “2,500 (fans) doesn’t hit quite like the 16,300 does.”
“Throughout the year, it didn’t feel right going to the Fieldhouse without 16,300 there,” Teahan added in the release. “That wasn’t the way I wanted my career to end. Coach Self initiated the conversation asking what my plans were for next year and I said I wanted to come back. He agreed that would be a good decision.”