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Monday, September 1, 2008

Little plays big

Newcomer keys KU's exhibition rout of Ottawa

Kansas University's Tyshawn Taylor, left, dribbles past Ottawa's Faysia Ibrahim. Taylor had 20 points in the Jayhawks' 95-60 victory over Ottawa on Sunday in Ottawa, Ontario.

Kansas University's Tyshawn Taylor, left, dribbles past Ottawa's Faysia Ibrahim. Taylor had 20 points in the Jayhawks' 95-60 victory over Ottawa on Sunday in Ottawa, Ontario.

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— Kansas University newcomer Mario Little fell just short of a triple-double in the Jayhawks' 95-60 men's basketball exhibition rout of the University of Ottawa on Sunday night at Montpetit Hall.

For the record, the undersized, 6-foot-5, 210-pound power forward scored 21 points off 9-of-11 shooting, dished eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds in 28 minutes.

"If I would have known that, I probably would have tried a little harder," quipped Little, whose 15 first-half points helped the Jayhawks to a 46-31 lead at the break.

He actually put forth an outstanding effort, considering he was basically playing on one leg.

Little revealed after the game he has been hobbled by a stress fracture in his lower-left leg.

"I've had it since last year (at Chipola, Fla., Community College). It's still healing. It's still kind of sore," said Little, who indicated he would not need surgery, but would be taking a few weeks off to speed the healing process.

"It hurts, but it's nothing I can't bear. I'm from Chicago."

Little saved his best game for KU's last game of the Canada trip. He scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds in a five-point victory over McGill and had eight points and five boards in a one-point decision over Carleton, both on Saturday.

"Today I started being aggressive, believing in myself, and stopped babying my leg," Little said. "I will play much better when my leg gets better. I'm going to get two weeks off, and it should be good by Late Night."

KU coach Bill Self acknowledged Little is a shadow of what he'll be.

"He has no explosiveness now," Self indicated. "He has a stress fracture. It's healing. We wanted him to get through the weekend. Now he'll get a week to 10 days off and be fine."

KU's coach definitely didn't baby the player in the three exhibition games.

"I didn't think he played well at all yesterday. I told him before the game : I said, 'I'd like to figure out if you can play or not. The No. 1-rated junior-college player in the country : play like that,''' Self said of his message to Little. "I thought he played very well tonight. He's just got to find his way. Most juco guys, it takes half a year before they are really comfortable. We need him to be comfortable. He's going to be one of our key guys."

KU's newcomers stole the show before a near sellout crowd of about 700 fans at Ottawa's gym.

Freshman point guard Tyshawn Taylor exploded for 20 points off 8-of-10 shooting with one assist against four turnovers. Freshman power forward Quintrell Thomas scored 12 points off 4-of-7 shooting with eight boards in just 17 minutes.

Freshman shooting guard Travis Releford had seven points and three rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore Cole Aldrich had a third strong game with 10 points and seven boards.

Sunday's game was welcome considering the first two exhibitions were nailbiters. Self used all his available players early and often.

Brennan Bechard was best of the walk-ons with five points and four boards with two assists in 19 minutes.

"I thought I'd limit Cole's minutes the most. I didn't have to. His fouling did that in the first half," Self said of Aldrich, who picked up two quick fouls and played 13 minutes. "There's really not much difference in our guys now. I do think Cole, Tyshawn and Mario : when they play, they play at a pretty high level. Travis was terrific last night (in scoring 25 points versus Carleton), but had a freshman night tonight."

KU led just 18-15 11 minutes into the game, but went on a 13-4 run to open a 12-point lead with about five minutes left before the break. Conner Teahan had five points and Little three, while Bechard also swished a trey in the surge. Little scored six points and Taylor five in the final 3:46 of the half.

"It was a good game for us," Self said, "though we caught Ottawa on a night they didn't play well."

Ottawa, which was led by forward Dax Dessureault's 16 points, bricked 14 of 17 threes and finished shooting 31.6 percent to KU's 62.9 percent mark.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the trip," Self said. "And not just because Ottawa is a beautiful city. We played well and gained a lot out of the week of practices in Lawrence and games here."

Comments

jaybate 5 years, 11 months ago

CHIRON ON BLACK SCREEN: ALLEN FIELD HOUSE, LAWRENCE, KANSAS, 1:39 A.M., 09.01.2008FADE IN: THREE OLD FACES SLOWLY MATERIALIZE IN THE DARK ABOVE THE SCOREBOARD OF AFH...JIMMY NAISMITH FLANKED BY PHOG ALLEN AND HANK IBA...NAISMITH: A fine showing in Ottawa, ya?ALLEN: With all due respect, Dr. Naismith, a bunch of uncoached freshman squeaking by two out of three against some pygmy Canadians doesn't mean much.IBA (rolling his eyes): he just can't enjoy a bunch of boys getting together and having a few pick-up games. Coaching, coaching, coaching, that's all he cares about.ALLEN (to IBA): Is not!IBA (to Allen): Is too!Allen: Is not!!IBA: IS TOO!!!NAISMITH: Boys, boys, boys, can't you stop bickering even after William won a national championship! Can't we just enjoy a little basketball the way it was meant to be played. For heaven sakes! William couldn't have flattered me more than to have taken the youngsters up to my old home place without an offense. It was poetry, pure poetry, seeing the boys just run around like they used to back in Springfield, Mass...ALLEN (interrupting in a shrivelled whine): ...under the old peach basket...as basketball was meant to be played, Forrest, not coached. (returning to his regular booming voice) Phoooey! Basketball without coaching is like a symphony without a conductor. And going up there without an offense, why it sets a tone for the rest of the season. It lets these impressionable young frosh think they can actually play the game. IBA: Alright Forrest C. Scrooge, don't start criticising my boy, Billy, before the season even starts! He just won us a national championship in that tournament of yours. He KNOWS what he's doing. You're not the ONLY guy who ever coached the game. He was honoring ol' Jimmy and you know it. Helzfarh, Phog, he could easily have had'em standing out their pickin'n'rollin'; that doesn't take more than a couple of days of teaching, even by YOU!ALLEN: Does too!IBA: Does not!ALLEN: Does too!IBA: Does not!NAISMITH (blowing his whistle): Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!(THE ANCIENT, CRAGGY FACES OF ALLEN AND IBA SULLENLY OBEY THE FATHER OF THE GAME. NAISMITH SPITS OUT HIS WHISTLE.)

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Dirk Medema 5 years, 11 months ago

"It hurts, but it's nothing I can't bear. I'm from Chicago."Gotta love it!

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Kyle Cornish 5 years, 11 months ago

Anyone else notice the change in uniforms? The reds are different with no blue on them (except for some light trim around numbers). They need more blue, they look like Oklahoma.

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tdub 5 years, 11 months ago

Don't take these opponents lightly. Carleton is a Canadian powerhouse. They regularly beat other D1 teams in these exhibitions. Weaglehawk, Washburn or FHSU wouldn't stand a chance against these teams.

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jaybate 5 years, 11 months ago

You may all thank me for putting ku98 to sleep now. ;-)

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Nutflush21 5 years, 11 months ago

weaglehawk- Im pretty sure those are just practice uniforms. We definitelyt wore practice gear last time in Canada. Also, A few pics of the newcomers in their uniforms were released last week and they wearing last years stuff.

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Mr_Sandman 5 years, 11 months ago

If Self is pleased with the team, then I am as well. I really wish the twins eligibility would be resolved soon, otherwise it sounds like the young players are performing nicely.

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Tad Shurtz 5 years, 11 months ago

Just FYI, McGill beat Virginia yesterday 88-83. So at worst they're like a low-tier D1 college team.

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jaybate 5 years, 11 months ago

NAISMITH (ADJUSTING HIS SPECTACLES FOR THE NEXT PHASE OF HIS LECTURE): After some deliberation, I do see Forrest's point. As Chaos and Complexity theories continue to suggest, many things are sensitively dependent on initial conditions. Letting the boys play their first games in KU uniforms without much coaching and without any offense could well bend the young bough, so to speak, in an unintended direction away from both rigor and order and orchestration that both, you, Forrest, and you, too, Henry, recognized was more essential to playing well, than I certainly ever did. Henry?IBA: Yes, sir?NAISMITH: Henry, you had a lot of control issues. You were an even bigger stickler for details and exactness in running an offense than my Forrest, here. You have to agree with me on this, don't you?IBA (corkscrews his mouth, shrugs, and nods): yes, there is a risk of setting a bad precedent here. But...NAISMITH: i know exactly what you are going to say, Henry. You were about to say: the risk is worth taking in this pre season game this one time in exchange for letting the game come full circle to its roots.(IBA NODS.) (ALLEN GRUMBLES)NAISMITH: Let me finish, Forrest. I AM the father of college basketball. The game should come full circle to where I grew up in Canada at least once. And William had the profundity of insight and the intellect and wisdom required to recognize the insight that the game needed to come full circle to my roots. It is only proper. And so yes, I think the greatness of the Kansas basketball program that you, Forrest, worked so long and hard to create out of my modest, dare I say inadequate, beginnings, can bear the risk--this one season--of approaching the game in a manner slightly more akin to what I had once envisioned for the game so long ago.ALLEN (eyes rolling): Alright, Father Naismith, but I'm on record. I don't like players wearing the KU uniform even a second in a game, regular season, or exhibition, who have not been drilled on the fundamentals of the Kansas game. IBA: Forrest, we AGREE with you, but even you have to admit there are exceptions to certain rules.ALLEN: Okay, okay, this once. But if coaching college basketball ever has to come full circle to my birth place, I want the ENTIRE offense installed in one week. Got it?IBA: Yes, Forrest, of course. And I have no doubt that my Billy will schedule a game into Warrensburg, MO, probably next year to do that. (CUPPING HIS HANDS TO HIS LIPS) Ya hear me, Billy?!! Schedule KU to play a game against Central Missouri State ASAP, so Forrest here gets over his snit!ALLEN: I'm not in a snit.IBA: Are too!ALLEN: Am not!IBA: Are too!ALLEN: Am NOT!(NAISMITH SHAKES HIS HEAD AND THE BICKERING CONTINUES AS THE FACES FADE TO BLACK AND LATE NIGHT APPROACHES.)

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yovoy 5 years, 11 months ago

....oh, it's over?thanks...i could almost see it. was i dreaming?

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creightonjayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone know how good these Canadian schools are? Can you relate them to a specific u.s. school?

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jaybate 5 years, 11 months ago

NAISMITH: That's more like it. Now, as you both recall, I am a man of god AND a scientist, so I am ENORMOUSLY comfortable with ambiguities--something you two could still learn something about. But here is the bottom line. Letting the boys play without an offense for a week and during the three exhibition games in Canada has some trade-offs, as you both suggest. William got to focus on observation and thinking about possibilities without having to spend a lot of time teaching. He got to really study his players "abilities" in a controlled environment with an open mind. Doing this will no doubt help him think outside the box, as the kids say today, and, of course I am a great believer in this sort of thing. I couldn't have invented the game of basketball, if I hadn't thought outside the box, now could I? And William has paid me the greatest of respects by "letting the boys play." I know young Bill and he's as big of a control freak as either of you fellows. It had to be excruciatingly difficult for him to sit there and watch them play like a bunch of yahoos, rather than run his incredibly sophisticated offensive and defensive schemes. You know how old point guards are as coaches: they can't stand not telling everyone how to do every last detail. So: I can't tell you just how much my heart soared watching them just go out and wing it. The boys were SO happy. And in practical terms, Forrest, a lot of coaching would have had them thinking so much after only a week that they would have executed very poorly and very likely have resulted in doubting of William's system by the new boys. (PAUSING FOR A BREATH) And then with the few weeks off before Late Night, well, boys being boys, the players would have forgotten everything taught them after a few boisterous nights at the Wheel.ALLEN: They shouldn't be at the Wheel!IBA: Should too!ALLEN: Should not!IBA: Should too!ALLEN: Should not!NAISMITH: STOP IT! (HE PAUSES TO COMPOSE HIMSELF.) But there is also the side to this issue that Forrest raises.(ALLEN BEAMS AND IBA STICKS HIS TONGUE OUT AT ALLEN)

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trich424 5 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, they aren't the real game uniforms. And the Canadian school KU played Saturday night was National Champions 5 of the last 6 years, and their coach said they were like a "first or second round opponent" in the tournament.

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jerhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

who cares! they are just getting involved in THE PROGRAM!they will do you proud with their griittness. Self is a masterrecruiter, Self is here to stay, and the jayhawk nation is behind him 100%. for all the doubters out there- just watch- Self is a coach that you are honored to have leading YOUR team into the VICTORY circle. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK AS NAISMITH CHANTS.

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KGphoto 5 years, 11 months ago

jaybate, I love your enthusiasm. One big thing you should work on though. You need to be more concise. I literally stopped reading after the first "Does too". Reading-on would have been similar to stuffing my eyelids with rock salt and snorting freshly minced onions. If you want people to read this stuff, and you obviously do, write it out before hand then have your mom or dad proof read it. If they fall asleep, tighten it up and go from there. But if they both just love it, it's because they're your parents and they love every crayola scribble you ever scribed on your bedroom walls.But again, I love your enthusiasm.

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rockchalkAZ 5 years, 11 months ago

jaybate is ....i don't know what to call him. he's something though, for sure. lame? lifeless? i don't know what to call it

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Kyle Cornish 5 years, 11 months ago

It's like playing a DII school like Washburn or Fort Hays State.

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ralsterKUMed95 5 years, 11 months ago

I just have a feeling this Mario Little is one tough baller. Hope his leg heals up. This clearinghouse nonsense with the Twins is just flat stupid--yes, this happenned to B.Rush, but that was 3 yrs ago--NOTHING apparently has improved in their procedures to clear a player...!

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OutlawJHawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Wow, I am speechless jaybate...Your post was longer than the article, yet extremely creative. Apply for Woodling's job at the Journal World.Bedore, thank you for the coverage on Little...we definitely have a big time player in the horizon.

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JayCeph 5 years, 11 months ago

jaybate, keep up the good work. I like your reads. If these other gnats can't scratch up enough of an attention span to read through your post(s), then it's their loss.

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