Junior Watch: David Lighty

David Lighty has become a hot commodity - not just by midwest schools, either. One Big East school is in good shape with the versatile two-sport star who has decided to take this season off from football.

David Lighty turned plenty of heads with his play a year ago – but it's almost a certainty he'll be even better this season.

That's because the Villa-Angela St. Joseph (Ohio) two-sport star, who is a big-time wide receiver drawing plenty of high-major D-1 interest in the gridiron, took the season off from football in order to concentrate on basketball.

"Coming from football and going into basketball, especially last year, I wasn't as strong," said the 6-5, 200-pound junior, who averaged 19.4 points and 11 boards as a sophomore. "This year I'll be a lot better from beginning to end."

Lighty (No. 22, Scout.com), a tenacious defender who gets to the basket and also brings a measure of versatility to the table, has become one of the hottest names among big-time college coaches searching for the elite players in the Class of 2006. He's athletic and can also knock down the perimeter jumper, but he'll still need to polish his ballhandling skills prior to getting to college.

Lighty, 16, won't deny that one school has stood out thus far.

"If there's one school I really like right now, it's probably Syracuse," Lighty said. "I've always liked them since the eighth grade."

However, Lighty said he's also considering Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina. According to Lighty, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, MSU head man Tom Izzo and Ohio State's Thad Matta were a few of the head coaches to make the trek to Cleveland to watch Lighty in an open gym over the past month.

"He's a remarkable kid," said Tim Hewitt, Lighty's coach with the Cleveland Titans. "He's not selfish and just lets the game come to him. He's all about team and does anything you ask him to do."

Despite the high level of interest in football, Lighty, who has a 3.3 GPA, said that basketball is clearly his priority – although he hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing both sports in college.

Lighty's high school team begins official practices on Nov. 1 and he's already circled Dec. 4 on his calendar – the date of the team's first game.

However, before that gets going, Lighty has been fairly busy taking in a couple football games. He went to Michigan last weekend for the Wolverines game against Minnesota and he'll head to Ohio State this weekend for the Buckeyes matchup against Indiana.

Lighty, who hauled in 58 catches as a sophomore for more than 900 yards and 11 touchdowns and has drawn comparisons with Randy Moss for his size and athleticism, has found it difficult to watch his teammates start the season 1-5.

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