Friday, August 29, 2008

KU’s Little working with bigs


Mario Little has been working out with Kansas University's 'bigs' during pre-Canada-trip basketball practice sessions.

Those in the know say the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder out of Chipola (Fla.) Community College has fared well inside in the absence of 6-9 Markieff Morris and 6-8 Marcus Morris, who have yet to be cleared for practice by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

"A player that has impressed me with his aggressiveness so far is probably Mario Little. He's very aggressive and has a knack for scoring around the basket and getting his shot off," KU sophomore guard Tyrel Reed said Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse.

"I'd say Mario is the biggest surprise to me, and he's banged up with some nicks and bruises. I think once he gets healthy, he'll be a lot more explosive, even more than he is now. He is physical enough to get down there and bang with the big guys."

KU's only true bigs in camp are Cole Aldrich (6-11, 245), Matt Kleinmann (6-10, 250) and Quintrell Thomas (6-7, 240).

"He was a 4-3 (power forward, small forward) in junior college," KU coach Bill Self said of Little, whose bumps and bruises haven't kept him from practicing. "He is probably more comfortable there than on the perimeter. (But) you know as well as I do, against big players, limited size can certainly hurt you if you are playing against 6-9, 6-10 guys. He is a good player. We can move him around a lot like we did Julian (Wright). He's just not near as tall as Julian."

Until the twins are deemed eligible to play, the Jayhawks, who play two exhibition games Saturday (McGill University, 10 a.m. Central time, Montpetit Hall; Carleton University, 6 p.m., Scotiabank Place, Ottawa), will definitely be lacking in team size.

"We will play small," Self said. "We've got Quintrell, who is coming along fine. There is a learning curve for him. What it does is forces us to play Mario at the 4 and play small, which we'll do a lot anyway. It hasn't totally revamped how we are going to play, but has certainly made us look at how we are going to play, at least offensively. We've not talked at all about defense yet."

Self remains pleased with sophomore big man Aldrich.

"He has taken much more of an active role. He's looking to score every time he touches it, which is good," Self said. "He's confident. One of the negatives about the twins not being here : I wasn't planning on giving Cole that many reps. It's such a long season. He's almost got to be out there a majority of the time, at least now. He's doing great."

Self said he also has been pleased with the work ethic of junior guard Sherron Collins during camp. However, Self still does not think Collins will play Saturday or Sunday (vs. University of Ottawa, 6 p.m., Montpetit Hall).

"Since school has started (last Thursday), he's done everything we've asked him to do," Self said of the player who had arthroscopic left knee surgery last April 22 and reported overweight to campus. "Unfortunately for him, he's not in good-enough shape to practice, let's be real candid. As far as attitude and effort since he's been here, it's been very good."

Collins has practiced in scrimmage situations, but contact has been limited.

"My hunch is no," Self said asked if Collins would play in Canada.

¢ Nothing new on twins: Self said there are "no new developments" regarding the Morris twins' eligibility status. "If we hear something, you guys (media) will hear what we hear. It's a long process when you've got multiple schools (attended) like they did. Everything is lined up. They (Clearinghouse) have the information. Hopefully it'll be soon. I've said that for a week, though," Self said.

¢ All work: This trip to Canada will be a short business trip for the Jayhawks, who arrive in Ottawa about 7 p.m. today. They play a rare day/night doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday, then return home early Monday morning.

¢ Teahan update: KU sophomore walk-on Conner Teahan has reported in top shape.

"The last couple months I put on 10 or 12 pounds," the 6-5, 215-pounder out of Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High said. "I think it's muscle. You never know, though. I think my endurance (is strong). There's stuff I can do now I couldn't do last year, especially at this time. I feel comfortable I can be out there a long period of time. I will not settle on that now. We have a long way to go until the season."

¢ No set plays: Self said the Jayhawks, who ran 50 offensive sets last year, will run none of them in Canada.

"We're running our foundation, just our foundation," he said. "It's brain freeze time with some guys, everything is so new. Even though it's not complicated to us it's still foreign to them."

¢ Games not on TV: The games in Canada will not be televised. They will be aired on the Jayhawk radio network. Information is available at


KEITHMILES05 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure why Self has to tell Sherron everything to do. The kid is a junior and should not have to be led around by the noose. I am disappointed that he let the team down by not being the leader Self asked him to be.

FlaHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Collins is not a leader. He is also very injury prone. I predict that he will play 4 years as he could never with stand a full NBA season.THis will be great for KU, as long as Sherron does not miss to many games th next two years.GO HAWKS!

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 9 months ago

Why is Collins not a leader? That is a pretty dumb statement. Have you not even paid attention to what Self said last week? He said he and Sherron talked this summer several times about being the leader. Geez. Some of you just don't get it.

ChicagoJHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

I agree KeithMiles; some of you just expect everything to be perfect all the time. Sherron has busted his ass nonstop ever since he's been here. He just came off a national championship and went back home for a few weeks, and had some downtime & took it easy. I agree he probably should have been working out but because he makes 1 mistake he's all of a sudden not a leader? Give the guy a break! Did you guys not see what Self said since he's been back?? "Since school has started (last Thursday), he's done everything we've asked him to do...... As far as attitude and effort since he's been here, it's been very good." Just relax, he'll be fine when game time comes!

Ted Toulouse 11 years, 9 months ago

It's going to be really strange to hear/see Self talk about Mario and it will not be Chalmers.

justanotherfan 11 years, 9 months ago

5Decade, If the NCAA did what you very practically have suggested, they would run the risk of (gasp!) actually caring about the education of these athletes instead of just the rules and money. It's unfortunate that if you have attended more than one school (whether because of moving around, or other reasons) the Clearinghouse seems to stall on things. And since generally they only communicate only with the schools themselves, the athletes can't really help the process move along. So instead you have two kids that will miss two or maybe three weeks of classes waiting on the NCAA say it's ok for them to get an education.As for Sherron, I think he shows leadership on the floor in that he makes plays when they are needed. Remember, he made the steal and three pointer that started the whole rally in the Nat'l Championship game. Without that play, Mario probably never has a chance to hit his shot, because we are still down 4 or 5 points.I am starting to harbor concern about having to play small. Although I feel like Little is capable, he is going to take a serious pounding playing out of position all season. He may be worn down by the time the tournament rolls around, and not be as productive. After all, we are talking about a guy playing 20-25 minutes a night against guys 2-3 inches taller and 25-40 pounds heavier. That wears on you. I did that in high school for a year, and by the end of the season, I was pretty beat up. I can only imagine what the toll would be in college with more games, better athletes, etc.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 9 months ago

I think Collins will be the leader he needs to be this year. He will rise to the occasion. It's a shame that he didn't show up in great shape and ready to be an example to all of these young guys, but when its game time he'll be ready to carry the load. But I also think we will see him back for his senior year. Teahan's statement is kinda funny, "I think it's muscle. You never know, though." He's the one who was supposed to have been working out and conditioning daily. I think that he should know better than anyone if he has put on good pounds or bad pounds. Most of these guys have to lose weight so that they can be quicker and have better stamina. Hopefully an extra 12 pounds won't hurt Teahan.

not_important 11 years, 9 months ago

5Decade- Your proposed idea makes too much sense for it ever to be adopted by the NCAA.

5DecadeHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

The real problem with the clearing house situation is that they are punishing the students in the classroom.Whenever the clearing house encounters a borderline case, they seem to take a long time to approve/deny clearance. While the NCAA is fiddling around, the students fall behind in classes.There MUST be a better way.There should be some kind of rule change that provisionally allows students to get into the classroom while the NCAA is deciding. If the students are later determined not to be eligable, then give the students the choice of paying tuition money back and continuing their education via their own funding and not playing sports, or the students can drop their classes, transfer, and try JUCO or some other path.Each school admissions department has obviously approved them academically or they would not have gained admittance to the university at all. So that's not the problem. This is all about who is paying for it.Holding someone out of practice while eligability is determined is reasonable, but not holding up education.The NCAA's claim of supporting academics is ringing shallow with their current policy.

wtarush 11 years, 9 months ago

Someone mentioned on an earlier post that the games this weekend would be shown via internet from the hosting schools... does anyone have a link for me, or was this a bunch of smoke?

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Lebowski,You are unimpeachable as usual. Thanks for the insights.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

(Stenographer's Transcript Continued)Sixth, Sherron is soooooo good that even though Sherron has been hurt much of the last two years, he has still carved out 20-30 minutes of playing time from exceptional older players like Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson.Seventh, Sherron has obviously been the best point guard on KU's last two 30 game winning teams and the only reason he did not start most of that time was that: a) his defense was slow in coming along, in part because of injuries; and b) Self was trying to keep the older guards happy.Eighth, it was Sherron who made the second biggest shot down the stretch in regulation in the NC game, and it was Sherron who made the incredible drive the length of the floor and got the ball into our best shooters hands for "the shot", and it was 5'10" Sherron who conducted the team as it won a national championship, and it was Sherron who did all of the above with a serious knee injury and playing against Derrick Rose, the future Number One choice in the NBA draft!YOUR HONOR, SHERRON COLLINS IS AN ABSOLUTE MAN, ON A BASKETBALL FLOOR, whatever other issues he may have. Outside of Jo Jo White and Hinrich, and despite his limited minutes, Sherron is the most talented and dynamic and gutty point guard KU has EVER had and KU has had its share of good PGs. Further, your honor, point guard Sherron Collins, despite limited playing time because of injuries, drove two KU teams to two 30 win seasons and one national championship from the point guard position. NO OTHER KU POINT GUARD IN HISTORY CAN COME CLOSE TO THESE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers could lock down on defense when they were healthy and they were healthy much of the time, but they could not light the candle; that is, they could not keep the offense a lean, mean blitzkrieg machine. Only Sherron could do that. Sherron's defense has always been less stellar than Chalmers' or Robinson's defensive games. But whenever Sherron has been healthy, his defense has been good enough to allow him to play equal minutes to theirs. And playing Self-style defense by definition means Sherron has been capable of playing as good of defense as, say, Kirk Hinrich, under Roy.Your honor, the court of basketball has to find in favor of Sherron in this case. Judge Allen: Thank you Mr. jaybate, you may step down. Call your next witness, Mr. Green.

okjhok 11 years, 9 months ago

justanotherfan,I think it's safe to say that if Little has to play the 4 all year, it won't be a very successful year, at least to KU standards. Quintrell sounds very raw. They cannot count on Cole for all of the inside production. He's not ready for that yet.Here's my 5:SherronTyshawnMarioMarcusCole

bryan123456789 11 years, 9 months ago

i sense they are doing some investigation of the twins records because it took them just a little over a day to clear up Travis Releford's paperwork, my feeling is we may never see the twins actually play a game this year, but maybe i am just being pesimistic. But on the other hand i dont really care if they play here or not, i am sure they are pretty good, but if we can get a few more top 40 recruits next year i am fine with that. Anybody else excited about the basketball and football games this weekend? i am actually lookin forward to the bball games more just because of the unknown factor it carries. Any ideas what our starting lineup may be this season.Starting 5 without twins: 1. Sherron 2. Tyshawn Taylor 3. Travis Releford 4. Mario Little 5. ColeWith Twins: 1. Sherron 2. Tyshawn Taylor 3. Marcus Morris 4. Markeiff Morris 5. Cole

Drew Bender 11 years, 9 months ago

Duke hasnt had a solid big man for a couple years now and they have done pretty well... Im not gonna worry about it... If the twins dont become eligible first semester they can still play second semester (if they decide to start attending classes)... KU basketball will be just fine... We all expected this to be a down year anyways... Bill Self is the best coach in the nation... He will just have to play the hand that he is dealt... Quit worrying so much... Its pathetic

Drew Bender 11 years, 9 months ago

okjhok,I wasnt talking directly to you or anyone else on this page... I was just talking to KU fans in general... Im confident that they will become eligible soon also... I know how the Clearinghouse works... Ive had to go through the long process as well... They will struggle without serious depth but it will be nothing like the falling off of Florida and Ohio State last year... Like I said, down year, but not down and outBTW... I like your starting five... I would guess the same thing

okjhok 11 years, 9 months ago

Who's worrying, ESU? I'm not losing sleep thinking about the twins, but if they don't play (for the record, I'm very confident they'll be eligible shortly), the team will struggle with absolutely NO depth at the post position. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone here. Nobody said the sky is falling. We're just stating the obvious.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

COURT OF BASKETBALL DOCKET: SHERRON COLLINS VS. CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE JAYHAWK NATION ET AL(Court stenographer's transcript of testimony by jaybate, defense witness called by Sherron Collin's basketball attorney, Jimmy Green, Ghost Esq.)Bailiff Tan Man: jaybate, do you solemly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god?jaybate: as best as a biased, jayhawk basketball fanatic ever can.Bailiff Tan Man: Be seated.Jimmy Green: Have you been to the Wheel, or any other establishment selling alcohol before testifying?jaybate: Not today.Jimmy Green: Your honor, I wish to request that the court give jaybate unusual leeway in testifying, regarding my client, as everyone in the court and in Jayhawk nation knows that jaybate is verbose, redundant, and runs on like a mother. Judge Forrest C. Allen: Very well, Counselor, but I warn you, if the witness expresses any pessimism whatsoever in this court room, I will find him in contempt and sentence him to 100 hours of reading Chuck Woodling columns. Attorney Green: Very well your honor. Now, jaybate, tell the court your version of events regarding the defendant, sitting over their at the table eating a quart of Ben and Jerry's.Witness jaybate: Judge Allen, I would like it put on the record that I am testifying willingly and not under subpoena.Judge Allen: So noted, continue.Witness jaybate: First, your honor, Collins had a knee injury and serious arthroscopic surgery four months ago. People have underestimated the severity of his knee injury all along, simply because it could be scoped rather than being filleted like Brandon's knee injury the year before. Second, this is Friday, August 29th. At this time last year, Brandon Rush would not have even been considered for practice or play. Third, recall that Brandon did not get around to playing games until several weeks into the regular season, which starts October 15, AND even then he played sparingly and pretty ineffectually for awhile.Fourth, unlike Brandon Rush, Sherron did not have two older brothers who were D1 and NBA players, one of whom blew a knee, to guide/push him through rehab. Sherron had a son who probably needed some of his attention, too. And Sherron probably had another problem preoccupying him that requires no further reference. Fifth, Sherron is a GREAT leader! A NATURAL BORN LEADER! Lest anyone forget, it was he who stepped into the vacuum as a freshman, when none of our experienced guards was able to step forward and stand on the accelerator peddle and make our team realize its potential. And he did that on a team full of future draft choices one or two classes ahead of him. They followed him, a freshman!

ralsterKUMed95 11 years, 9 months ago

Ha! Well done, Jaybate. I get somewhat uncomfortable trying to get too critical of our Jayhawk players when trying to compare them to each other (especially starter vs. starter). They all bring something different to the show. Case in point (no, not Jeremy..): Sherron, RussRob, Chalmers. 3 different "combo" guards, but each with unique skills/talents. I just watched the Memphis game again, and saw Russell swat Rose's fadeaway jumper clean out of bounds. I am not sure Sherron could have done that. I also have a well-known soft spot for Russell (I love on-ball & team-defense), as he was asked to 'ditch' most of his "mini-Langford" offense after his frosh year, which he did for the sake of running KUs offense--which he did BETTER than Mario, and better than Sherron. Sherron is an awesome 5'10 (or is it 5'11") baller, but got a little out of control every so often. That is why Russell got the start over Sherron--ran the offense slightly better than Mario AND Sherron. THIS IS NO SLAM on Mario or Sherron--we are comparing guys who would all get an "A" at the guard position, just some would get A+ or A- at different aspects of guardplay, in my opinion after watching all 3 for 2 years. I have no concerns about Sherron for 08-09--he just has to continue to improve like every KU starting guard has tried to before him. A long tradition.

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