Monday, October 8, 2007

Juco transfer Little commits to Kansas


On Self's radar :

Kansas University has received oral commitments from a pair of players in the Class of 2008. They are: Travis Releford, 6-5, 190, Sr., Roeland Park Miege High School; Mario Little, 6-5, 210, Soph., Chipola (Fla.) Junior College.

Here are some others on coach Bill Self's radar with KU looking at signing between five and seven players:

J'Mison Morgan, 6-10, 275, South Oak Cliff High, Dallas: Has visited KU, LSU, UCLA and Alabama. Also has had Kentucky and Baylor on his list. Will choose a school on his birthday, Nov. 2.

Willie Warren, 6-3, 195, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va., originally from Fort Worth, Texas: Will visit Oklahoma for Midnight Madness and KU the following weekend. Also considering Cincinnati, UConn and perhaps others.

Marcus Morris and Markieff Morrris, 6-7, 215 and 6-8, 226, Pennsauken (N.J.) APEX Academies, originally from Philadelphia: Twins, who decommitted from Memphis, will visit KU for Late Night in the Phog and Villanova the following week with a possible visit to St. John's to be scheduled.

Quintrell Thomas, 6-8, 225, St. Patrick High, Elizabeth, N.J.: Has already visited KU, Maryland and Rutgers. Will visit UNLV for its Midnight Madness.

Tyshawn Taylor, 6-3, 160, St. Anthony High, Jersey City, N.J.: Has visited Virginia Tech and Marquette, will visit Georgia Tech or KU next weekend; may visit West Virginia or Cincinnati.

Mario Little was tempted to commit orally to play basketball at Kansas University following his Sept. 7-9 campus visit.

"I loved the players, fans, coaches, the tradition. I was ready, but you can't commit on your first visit. You have to see the other schools," Little, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound small forward from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, said Sunday afternoon in announcing his decision to attend KU.

Little received offers "from pretty much the whole Big Ten," his senior year at Chicago's Washington High, but failed to qualify for a scholarship academically.

He chose coach Bill Self's program over Kansas State and Illinois, schools he visited in successive weeks after the KU trip.

"For me, it's about winning. I wanted to go to a spot we can win every year," Little said.

He said he knew for sure he was KU-bound Wednesday (Oct. 3), "But I wanted to sleep on it."

He told Self of his decision Saturday night, then the media Sunday.

"He's cool. He's country, but he's cool," Little said of Self, adding, "I know this is the right decision for me. It is a dream come true. Every basketball player would love to play at Kansas.

"When I was little, I thought I could be real good. I never thought I'd be at Kansas. It will be fun. I've worked really hard. I'm excited about this next chapter in my life."

Little, who played post and power forward in high school, averaged 10 points and six rebounds a game last season as sixth man for Chipola's national junior-college runner-up team. He's known as an athletic player with slashing ability, good rebounding sense and range out to the three-point line.

Chipola coach Greg Heiar said Little actually "was the third best player on the team, but accepted that role because it helped us win."

"I am not a selfish player. I will do whatever it takes to win," Little explained. "Last year we had a lot of bodies. I think I proved I will do what coach wants. I was happy to come off the bench, get some rebounds, block some shots."

He's ticketed to start at small forward this season and likely play both small forward and shooting guard at KU.

"He can play anywhere in the country now as a 3," Heiar said of the small-forward slot. "He is a scorer from the wing position. He can play in and out with bounce. He's a very skilled offensive player. He will have a great future as a scorer.

"Mario will fit in. His teammates will love him. The fans will love him. He is a great kid, smart. He has a good basketball IQ and is not scared to work hard. He's relentless."

He's also surviving in the classroom.

"He's on track to graduate. He has to do well in class, keep going to study halls and tutors, and he'll be all right academically," Heiar said.

Little - KU's first juco commitment since Jeff Graves (2002-04) - said he's encouraged by the possibility of immediate playing time. The Jayhawks will lose five seniors and also could lose Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins to the pros.

"Oh, yeah, it was a big factor," Little said of court time. "I think I'll fit right in. I'll do whatever they ask."

He said he hopes his former AAU teammate Collins sticks around for his junior season.

"Sherron calls me all the time. I'd love to play on the same team," Little said. "That would be great."

Little is the third Chicagoan who will play for Self at KU; Collins and Julian Wright are the others.

"It was tough (turning down Illinois) being my hometown school," Little acknowledged. "I don't really want to talk about the other schools. I want to talk about Kansas. It's the right place for me."

Chipola is a school that continues to churn out major-college players. In Heiar's three seasons, 18 players have gone on to play in Div. I. Counting his one year as assistant coach, 24 have gone on to Div. I, including Missouri's Stefhon Hannah, Oklahoma State's Mario Boggan and Iowa State's Michael Taylor, who has been dismissed from the Cyclone team.

"I said when I recruited him he's the best player I've ever coached," Heiar said of Little. "We work them extremely hard here. We try to get them prepared for the next level. We try to run a Div. I program here.

"Mario still has 12 full months before he steps on the court for KU. That's 37 college games. He's going to continue to get better," Heiar added.

It could be a special year at Chipola.

"I want to have an undefeated season, win the national championship and go on with my career to Kansas," Little said, adding he's eager to practice. "I'm relieved. I can actually think now."


JNgohawks 14 years, 2 months ago

"Sherron calls me all the time. I'd love to play on the same team," Collins said. "That would be great." So Sherron calls himself all the time. Hope we get some more quality recruits!

filmhawk 14 years, 2 months ago

so coach self is a little "country?"

also - red flag - "he's surviving in the classroom" - that's not exactly a ringing endorsement for a kid who couldn't get into state college last year.

oh well - survive and advance. welcome to the hill little.

tigerbball1414 14 years, 2 months ago

I REALLY dont want to think about losing 9 players next year!! Lets just hope that the seniors are the only ones leaving...

justanotherfan 14 years, 2 months ago

I envision losing 7. The seniors plus Rush and probably Arthur. I don't see Mario or Sherron going unless one of them has a ridiculous year, in which case they will be leaving with a national title and I think everyone will be happy.

bmkjayhawk 14 years, 2 months ago

If justanotherfan has an accurate prediction about retaining Collins and Chalmers, then I will still be pretty confident about the 08-09 season. It is always fun to watch the experienced players lead the team, but it is also fun (albeit sometimes painful) to watch the rookies grow. 2005-2006 was all growth, while 2006-2007 was much more experience-dominated. A good mix of the two could be a lot of fun as well.

This, of course, is assuming that Aldrich comes along and Self lands a couple other bigs.

gutter 14 years, 2 months ago

He is a nice bench guy. I am glad we signed him. Now can we sign some starters?

flipborder02 14 years, 2 months ago

I would like to know if we still have a chance with Morgan because the more visits he takes the more scared I get about him not commiting to Kansas and he is also talking alot about his LSU visit and his Alabama visit but he didnt say much about how the the Ku visit went.

Can anyone answer my question?

okjhok 14 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to the team, Mario. A word of advice: Don't call your future coach "country" right after you verbally committed to his program, kidding or not. It obviously was not intended as a compliment. Although, I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to. Other than his Oklahoma twang, what part of the KU basketball coach is country? I guess he was a Cowboy in college; maybe that's it. What an ignorant comment. Lucky for you, many KU fans are open-minded and willing to look past this. "He's country, but he's cool." What???

JayCeph 14 years, 2 months ago

What question is that? Your whole post is a run-on sentence followed by a question referencing a 'question' that was never asked.

So, in answer to your question, yes. The color blue is seven when pointing south while it rains.

soapboxstew 14 years, 2 months ago

flip- Morgan has been looking at KU for 2 years, 1 of which he has had the scholly offer. He knows what we have to offer. 'Bama is more out of the picture than LSU and UCLA. He "ran into" Shaq and T.Thomas at the LSU/Va. Tech football game. That's BS, and it hurts our cause, but it is not a determining factor. Remember that Morgan is like a 3.8 student, he is a smart kid. He is doing the right thing looking at those schools. In all honesty, I believe that he will pick KU on Nov. 2. But that day is the next biggest day in KU hoops.
Since we most likely will not be getting Monroe, Morgan would start his freshman year. Up front we would have Cole Aldrich and J'Mision (sp?) Morgan. That is 13 feet and 11 inches, 520 lbs of rebounding and shot blocking. That is a dream front court for a shot oriented guard. So come on Willie, take that shot first 'tude to the Crimson and Blue. Trust me people, we want Willie, he will shine here (like all the other stars).

14 years, 2 months ago

If Chalmers sticks around for his senior campaign, I can already envision a headline sometime during the season containing a variation of "Super Mario Brothers"....

That being said, welcome to the team Mr. Little!

Chris Shaw 14 years, 2 months ago

Well It's a official. KU has been tabbed the #1 backcourt in the nation according to with Collins, Robinson, Chalmers, and Rush. As it's stated in the article, anything less than a final 4 is a collosal disappointment.

soapboxstew 14 years, 2 months ago

Take it easy JayCeph, his question was "what's the word on Morgan?" Your response made me laugh, but lets not laugh at fellow jayhawkers that we don't know. Face-to-face is one thing, but Blog shots are uncalled for. Your better than that. BTW- I think that Mario C will be gone before Mario L shows up on campus. Collins is our most likely returning (non-senior) player. DA will be early lotto in a weak draft year next year. Rush was already gone. Nothing (not even a busted knee) will keep him out of the draft this year. If Sherron has a huge year, he needs the money, we'll be saying goodbye to him as well. If Mario is projected in the 1st round, goodbye!

Kaw Pickinton 14 years, 2 months ago

"so coach self is a little "country?""

Um... he is "country"

Nothing to be ashamed of it's just what city mice call country mice. What's important is that we are all mice.

Chris McIlvain 14 years, 2 months ago

Hey Soapbox - SHUT UP! JayCeph's post was absolutely appropriate and amusing. Believe it or not, the Jayhawks actually do have illiterate fans and they should be berated for their stupidity! LOL

flipborder02 14 years, 2 months ago

Hey soapboxstew I think ADP and Jayceph are the ones who are stupid if they couldnt get what i was trying to ask you must be the only one who could haha.

flipborder02 14 years, 2 months ago

Hey ADP and Ceph its ok I know I should have been more specific about my question.

JayCeph 14 years, 2 months ago

I knew what flipboarder was asking... I was just joshin' with 'em since the question was actually posed in the form of a statement.

There was never any malice intended. I understand that a lot of people feel the need to flame others so I understand why soapbox thought I was doing the same. Thanks for thinking I'm better than that... I agree. I am. ;)

I was never attacking him as much as having a playful repartee... but I can see how the context can be misconstrued. I'll try to be more erudite in my next post.

Go Hawks~

Dan Harris 14 years, 2 months ago

Hey ADP, YOU SHUT THE f UP. Your an idiot!

flipborder02 14 years, 2 months ago

Excuse me ADP I didnt no you were such a jackass.

Chris McIlvain 14 years, 2 months ago

JayCeph - your last post was very disappointing. It made you come off like a PU$#Y! Don't apologize for pointing out the obvious shortcomings of others. Some oxygen thiefs believe the only people who post on this website actually GRADUATED from KU, but we all know that just isn't the case. Examples: Flipboarder and JHAWKdan. Still can't get the name right though it's there in plain english AND I pointed out the mistake the first time. Tools!!!

okjhok 14 years, 2 months ago

This whole thread is disappointing...

Chris McIlvain 14 years, 2 months ago

Hey Okjhok - your life must be very empty. Go ahead and post some sugary-sweet comment to make everyone feel better. Tool

Michael Bratisax 14 years, 1 month ago

" with Collins, Robinson, Chalmers, and Rush. As it's stated in the article, anything less than a final 4 is a collosal disappointment."

Isn't failure to make it to the Final Four a disappointment every year at Kansas? Whether it's realistic or not, that's how it is at any major program.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.