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Originally published January 13, 2009 at 10:24a.m., updated January 13, 2009 at 06:42p.m.

Little to play against Kansas State, will not red-shirt this season

KU's Mario Little will not red shirt this year and will take the floor Tuesday night in the Jayhawks' conference opener against Kansas State.

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UPDATED: 2008-09 Kansas Men's Basketball: Past, Present and Future

This KUSports.com multimedia feature will keep you on pace with the Kansas men’s basketball team throughout the season. We trace the path from last year’s national championship game to the team's new faces for 2009, its 11-4 record heading into conference play and a 14-2 Big 12 finish, including a record fifth-straight conference title. Check back for a final update when the season concludes.

Kansas junior Mario Little will play in Tuesday night's Kansas-Kansas State game and will not take a medical red-shirt this season, KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday morning.

"He's going to play," Self said. "We spoke to him this morning. He slept on it and (the stress fracture in his left leg) felt good today. It feels good and he wants to play."

X-rays showed no additional problems. Self said he would discuss the matter more after Tuesday night's game against Kansas State.

Comments

Dale Kroening 11 years ago

Hope this is the right decision.Good luck Mario! Lets smack down the pussy cats!

elan71 11 years ago

Looks like a good move, especially with three talented players coming in next year. We could use a senior leader.

Joe Joseph 11 years ago

No doubt he should help the team this season. Can't blame the guy. It would be hart to sit on the bench for an entire year.

TtownHawk 11 years ago

Lets hope this works out. we clearly need him, but 5 fouls and no points isn't something we need

barackchalkjhawk 11 years ago

Agree. Hopefully this will light a fire in him since it won't be hanging over his head anymore.

Chris Seferyn 11 years ago

he needs to play this year. we need the scoring. don't grade his play yet he is in terrible shape and is out of the offensive flow. but watch how he is around the ball on D, finds space on O, is ready to shoot (has a clean J) and boards. The rest will come together in time if he stays healthy. He will start soon if he stays healthy.BTW I'd like to put in a vote for Brady at point, Collins at 2, mario at 3 and you know the deal at 4 & 5. We're going as far as the twins development this year cause Aldrich needs the help...

JayhawkPhil64 11 years ago

I kind of wish he had redshirted but without him we would not have had a small forward so hope he can shake off the rust in time to contribute. I am sure he is better than the 5 fouls and zero pts he put up against Mich St. He gives us another dimension in our arsenal so glad to have him available.

jhawks 11 years ago

I'd like to put in a vote that "retiredickieV" is crazy.Brady at point?????With all due respect to Brady. He is playing well and has my vote for "johnny hustle".But I'm sorry he is not a D1 point guard.

kansaspike 11 years ago

Seems like a good move.Little is needed more this year than 2011, when HCBS will have more options at the 3.

sevenyearhawk 11 years ago

I dunno ...I have a bad feeling about this.

goshenjhawk 11 years ago

Come on guys..... in Coach Self do we trust! He will make the decision that is best for the team and Mario. Good luck Mario I'm looking forward to seeing you at full strength! Now let's kick some purple _ tonight!!

KUbsee69 11 years ago

Maybe now that the decision has been made, we can hope for, and get a "break-out" game from Mario. Maybe tonight???I know he needs more physical reps, but that decision has had to weigh heavily on his mental game. Now, he can let the game come to him.Mildcats must go down!

ROCKINnCHALKIN 11 years ago

retiredickieV....you got to be kiddin me BRADY at POINT!?!?!?!? WOW!! I honestly still don't think he should be starting and dont understand why he is starting, Reed is a much better all around player, better hustler, just as good if not better shooter, better defender, better ball handler, he's quicker. I also think Releford should be getting just as much if not more minutes than brady. Im sure with self doin things the way he's doin them releford will be seeing close to no PT with little now getting healthy and offically in the lineup which im sure will not make Travis think twice about deciding to transfer, and a very talented basketball player could be lost becuase of inability to manage a roster not full with 5 star athletes.

justanotherfan 11 years ago

This is a gamble. At this point ANY injury could cost him a full year, even though he has only played a handful of games. Self knows its a gamble. Little knows its a gamble. I hope we win, but everybody knows this is a huge risk. I'm not saying I disagree. Little could help us win 2 or 3 games we would otherwise lose, which may get us from a disappointing 8 seeded, first round exit to a solid 4 seed, Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years ago

it's a good decision...based on the fact that it was mainly the player's...and his health seems to be good and improving.if he was still in pain, then it's a no brainer...the redshirt goes on. but it sounds like a mutual decision with the coach.we need you Mario! we need that athletic wing player....and we need you now for stickbacks and defense....don't worry about jump shooting. Go Jayhawks!

KirkwoodHawk 11 years ago

I am not sure it is as much a gamble about re-injury as it is about ability to produce and contribute the remainder of this year as opposed to waiting and having 2 full years.

sdoyel 11 years ago

Althought it wouldn't have been what I chose, I wish Mario the best of luck this season. We definitely need him, and need him HEALTHY. Lots of what if's in this situation. What if he was healthy all season? What if we need him 2 years from now due to early departures, etc? We won't have hardly any seniors 2 years from now other then Reed/Morningstar.

Blake Brown 11 years ago

I feel he ahould have been red shirted. He is no where near playing shape and evidenced by his performance so far, has not contributed in a way that is conducive to a lot of playing time which would more productively go to Quintrell who may bolt now. How many more games will it take for him to get into shape, learn the offensive and defensive sets? I woild really like to know Self`s true opinion on this. I doubt we will ever know. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

caddie733 11 years ago

ROCKINnCHALKIN...while I agree that Brady has no business running the point, I don't think Tyrel or Travis have earned a starting spot over him. Brady has been a pleasant surprise this year, and he is playing good ball. He is shooting the 3-ball at 46% while Tyrel is at 37% (they have made the same number of three's, but Brady has done it in 13 less attempts). Also, I would argue that Brady takes care of the ball better at this point. Brady has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6, while Tyrel is at 1.6. I would also argue that Brady is a better defender, considering he is usually defending the other team's best wing player (all while being undersized for a sf). Just ask Tenn how hard it is to guard Dionte Christmas, and you will appreciate Brady's effort that much more. I actually like having Brady starting at the 3 now because he provides some stability and hustle. I think Mario coming off the bench is perfect because once he gets in rhythm, he can provide an offensive spark for the second unit, much like Collins did last year. Tyrel can be a good 2 and possibly take over the 1 in short segments. Travis will need to become a much better defender to get more playing time, and he still looks choppy on the offensive end.

Joe Ross 11 years ago

Okay, Ill be the first to say it. "Dumb!"But kid has a right to decide if he wants to play or not if he's cleared medically. EFFECTIVENESS is the issue, not playing time.

kuwillkillit 11 years ago

Anyone in Larryville gonna stream this game for us out of towners.Thanks in advance

jasonsgill 11 years ago

Jross-I gotta disagree, Mario is a position we don't have right now: Brady has been effective at 3 but is a natural 2 and Travis, our only true 3, is not ready yet (though steadily improving). Mario provides both the ability and the maturity at that position that we sorely lack. The question remains as to whether he will be able to reach the level of effectiveness we hope he can, but it seems clear that both he and Self believe that this is a possibility.

vmwskywalk 11 years ago

I think this has more to say something about the type of talent that Self thinks will be arriving at this position in the next one to two years. If Stephenson were to commit, I don't know that Little would have much of a chance at significant playing time next year if he didn't play this year. I also know that Self would not let him (Little) make that decision if he (Self) didn't think that it would benefit him.

jchief40 11 years ago

Little looks about a full second slower than any other player.. Before I can say "do something!" he finally gets going and scores nay a point. I too am "cautiously optimistic" ...

jasonsgill 11 years ago

I absolutely agree that if Little is playing to his full potential right now then this discussion doesn't matter. But I personally saw Little pre-injury, and while that means very little (Boo!!), it is saying quite a lot that Self is treating Mario so differently than Appleton or any of the other freshman (save Tyshawn). Self clearly understands something about Mario that has convinced him of some rather strong convictions. I feel like the improvement we'll see from Mario in the next two weeks will be astonishing. /Dr. Pangloss

RyanHawk 11 years ago

Appleton and Thomas need to transfer!! With Robinson and Withey coming in Thomas will never see the floor and Appleton doesn't see the floor now and won't with the addition of Johnson. If Wall or Stephenson come then that will bury both of them even more but I don't think we will get either of them. I'm glad Little didn't red shirt because we won't need him in 2010-11 season we will have better talent coming in and that opens the door for Harrison Barnes to take the SF position for that season. In a long shot I wouldn't be surprised if one of the twins considers transferring. They play the same position for the most part so both won't probably ever start together. Probably won't happen but Rodrick left USC and Lodrick stayed so it could.In another long shot Releford could decide to transfer if he wants to play with his brother because his brother isn't good enough to get a scholarship to KU at this point with our limited scholarships for the next couple of years.Of course I hope we lose nobody but we are now over 1 scholarship for next year because of Withey and could be over more if Wall or Stephenson decides to come. So somebody will transfer or be going pro and I really don’t see anyone leaving to go pro. Maybe Sherron leaves because he needs money but he needs to make up a lot of ground if he wants to get into the first round based on his play. Cole would be a first round pick but I don’t think a guy that committed to play at KU as a sophomore in high school would leave after basically just playing one year, he will leave as a junior. I also don't think Brady should give up his scholarship. He has earned it this year with his hard work and hard play. You could make a case that he is our most consistent player behind Cole and Sherron.

d_prowess 11 years ago

What Self sees in Mario is what everyone else should be seeing just by seeing him on the bench. The kid is a man! His physical being is just more developed than the twins, Brady or anyone else that can play those positions. Even with the limited reps he has had, I have seen him get a couple rebounds simply because of his size (width, not height). I agree that his overall play is really lacking and it seems like the offense ignores him right now, but with him now continuing to play, he will only get better and hopefully really start to help us!

Joe Ross 11 years ago

jasonsgill...the reason you disagree is because you are short-sighted. you use the words "right now". guess WHAT...we're not gonna make a deep run in the tourney this year anyway. precisely because Mario fills a void, as you astutely point out, we should be prepping him this year, get the game inside his head, rehab him, let him come back so we maximize his effectiveness in minutes that he DOES play, and we should have saved him so that continuity could be built into the system. furthermore, it would have been best for Mario to sit out. hes got a year and a half to prove himself to anyone, and the remainder of this year he wont be 100%. Hed have given himself 2 years had he been patient. I dont blame Self for letting Mario make his own decision if hes been cleared medically, but that doesnt mean Mario made the best decision for himself. (kids sometimes dont...Julian professionally, CJ personally, etc and so on...).Like I said...DUMB!

4jhawks4ku 11 years ago

Brady's doing his job, what he's in there for. Thats why he's a starter right now. He cant help it if he doesnt have the height or the moves. He's a great defender and a great shooter when open. He's a Pete Rose Charlie Hustle type. But........... We need someone who can create off the dribble,shoot pull up jumpers, have a few stickbacks, and rebound with the big boys. We're gonna need Little to bolster the number three spot because of the inexperience and inconsistancies of the twins. He can help us get to the dance so we can contend big time next year. That's all we need this year......get us to the dance.

Joe Joseph 11 years ago

I wouldn't be so quick to judge what 'the best decision' is for Mario Little or anyone for that matter. There is more to know about this story than any of us know.Also, I still feel like Julian made the right decision to turn pro after his sophomore year. Has it turned out well for him? Probably not as well as he had imagined. BUT... had he returned his junior year and not shown any improvement, his potential and draft stock would have taken a big hit. I will never fault someone for leaving early for a guaranteed contract and salary. Set yourself and your family up for the rest of your life.

Joe Ross 11 years ago

stupidmichael. there are many times I agree with you, but if you for one second think Julian made the right decision to turn pro after his sophomore year, then I gotta question your temporary sanity. Julian would have been a standout on a championship squad...his stock would have only IMPROVED! Not only that, but his skill set would have only improved under Coach Self. Bottom line: kids dont always make the best decisions for themselves. Period.

Joe Joseph 11 years ago

Jross1972,Julian Wright was supposed to make substantial improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year. Did he? Most would say no.Stating that Julian Wright would have improved his stock drastically --or at all-- by returning for his junior year would require more than just a lucky eight ball. I think his lack of development in the NBA provides a degree of justification for his choosing to leave early. I completely agree with you that kids don't make the best decisions for themselves. But the only ones who truly know WHAT those best decisions are are the parties directly involved.

100 11 years ago

Mario Little is solid. Anyone who pays attention to body language of champions can see that. He is competent with the, pardon the pun, little role he has had this year. He knows where he's supposed to be. He sets picks. He guards. He boxes out. He picks up teammates. He's strong. As long as his leg is ready, this was a good decision. He hasn't scored any points yet, because he's out of the flow and still cautious on his leg. He will. And this kid can score. Before his injury he was unstoppable. But the best part about him is he gets his teammates involved, first. This will open up so many more things for Taylor, Sherron and Aldrich. It might take 3 weeks for us to see the healthy Mario, but once we do, we will be very glad he'll be on our team in March. And you know what? If we lose a couple kids that wanted more playing time -- guess what? Those kids will only be better for the time they spent on this campus, best of luck to them down the road and God bless them. If this were to happen, it opens up another spot or two for next year's probable preseason #1.... The Kansas Jayhawks. When recruits understand a team is probably a preseason #1 (which we will be), it tends to open up a snowball effect. Before all is said and done, Self very well could land two more monster recruits/ transfers for next year.Which all makes playing Little now (not later) all that more important. It's all about next year's squad, highlighted by a starting five of: Withey, Aldrich, Little, Collins, Taylor. And some AWESOME subs (who have already started a bunch of games and handled pressure well).Rock Chalk

Blake Brown 11 years ago

We all must remember where Brady, Tyrel and even Cole were at this time last year. Of course, they were not reallly getting a lot of minutes because of who was in front of them. Think of the progress they have made in a short time. Think of where our freshman will be at this time next year. Point being, we are really inexperienced and getting better; but will it be good enough to compete in the Big Xll? Time and experience is the key here for us. Meanwhile, we are in for a long conference season especially on the road.BTW, Brady at the point is not a good idea. He does not have dribbling skills and has a habit of taking the ball into a double team and picking up the dribble. Not good. Also, his level of quickness is far less than opposing PGs.It`s still about perfroming at the basic level. We need to block out, make sure passes, get back on D, help out on D, take the shot that is the best for the individual and where rebounders are in place and more important, finish layups.Self obviously knows more than us re the potential for Mario and the future for that position. I have to trust he makes the right decision to not red shirt him. It will be interesting to see how much he plays and how long it takes for him to be a positive factor.Rock Chalk!

d_prowess 11 years ago

I agree in principal with "100" but not specifically on a couple points. First, Little has been lost on offense and defense a number of times so far this season (see Self's comments in past articles). I don't fault him because I believe at the time of some of the comments he had less than a week of practice under his belt, so it was too be expected. Next, I find it hard to believe we will be pre-season #1 next year (I almost feel dirty for even looking to next year!). The only way would be if this team had an incredible awakening during the conference play and ended up with some big upsets and a final four appearance. BUT if that were to happen, i assume that Cole and Sherron would be huge parts of that achievement and one would be leaving early for the NBA. So it won't happen.

hillsborohawk 11 years ago

Being one that likes excitement, either way it's going to be a roller coaster ride all year long. We'll see what Little can do. Hope he get's some fire in his @$$ with the decision being made final.

mbmerriman 11 years ago

by the time college basketball matters he will be healthy

jasonsgill 11 years ago

jross-At this point it's hard for me to take a criticism of short sighted seriously from someone arguing your point of view. It is short sighted to look at next year solely through the lens of this year. If you think that Releford, the Twins and QT (to say nothing of the potential impact of incoming freshman and development of TT, BM and TR) will be the same players in 12 months that they are now then you have very little understanding of the capabilities of Self and his staff.Little will, and does already, provide on the court leadership. Playing on 1.5 legs he is the second best defensive rebounder on the team, playing on 1.5 legs he understands the movement of the offense better than any newcomer on the team. If he can go, he will 1) give us the chance to make it to the second weekend in March 2) parlay that moderate success into resurgence into the national dialogue and boost recruiting 3) set up the hawks to be more competitive next year 4) open up a scholarship for the 10-11 year. Finally, I think you're missing it when you say that this was solely Mario's decision, from everything I've read and heard from Self, he really wanted Mario to play, and was just waiting for clearance from the medical staff and confirmation from Little./Not replying to your ad-homs

Lin Rahardja 11 years ago

The team will get a lot better with his rebounding capability. Go Mario!!!

Fred Davis 11 years ago

Did anyone really think Self was going to redshirt Little? Get real... There's a reason the guy went juco first... I want to believe that Mario will make an impact, and let's hope he does get healthier as the season wears on, but there's no way Bill Self and his staff rationalize keeping a juco transfer on their roster for more than two years... Mario is here to provide some veteran leadership and toughness that juco guys are good for... Self knows he needs some perimeter help in the next two years, and keeping Mario isn't the answer... John Wall is still in play, and Self knows he needs another scorer- which this team is sorely lacking... As I pointed out in the fan blog section - Mario is what he is - a juco transfer that will have highlights, lowlights and provide some Chi-Town attitude along with Sherron to go along with seven to twelve points and five rebounds a game... Rock Chalk, Beat K-State.

Jacobpaul81 11 years ago

Little will be solid by Mid-Conference play. Getting the reps in will be key, and make sure both the leg and hand heal properly. Bill knows what he is doing. If Bill wanted Mario to sit out the season, Mario would have sat out the season. Bill thinks he can contribute. Lets face it, he's the only player here who has signifigant experiance starting basketball games. This is the first season Collins and Aldrich have had that priviledge. Let's face it, apart from Little, our Sophmores and Juniors are pretty young, raw and unexperianced. Collins, is the most experianced, and for all purposes, still plays like he did as a freshman. He makes Julian Wright's improvements from Freshman to Sophmore look grand in comparison. I really like Cole, but at this point, only Brady is really that good at feeding the post from the top of the key. Cole should be averaging 20-25 points a game against the teams we've played, but no one can get the ball in there for him. It's not like he's got Sasha hands! Line up so you see both shoulders and pass it! Instead, we see Cole's hand and we're bounce passing it into the defenders. I think Little's experiance is why Bill is thinking, "I can't bench you all season." He knows he'll never live down not making the NCAA tourney. He's gotta have someone with experiance on the court, especially in the Big 12 with the likes of Baylor, Texas, Missouri, and of course Oklahoma on the schedule. He's already lost 4 games, that's 5 more tough ones right there, add Manhattan and Ames which no matter how bad the teams are there, they are going to show up for KU, and Bill's not getting any free passes this season. Gotta have that experianced 3 on the court to chill the team out. Collins can't do that. He's too wired, and Cole needs someone outside to take that role on the court, otherwise, he's not going to be effective.

d_prowess 11 years ago

As I have already mentioned, I see why he is not being red-shirted and am glad that he will be playing. However, all of the positives that Little will bring are lost if he re-injures the leg over the next couple weeks. I am not sure how likely that is and don't know if anyone does. But Self and Little are definitely taking a chance by not resting him until he is 100%. That said, I agree with others that we only were looking for Little to be here 2 years and so if he does hurt himself again this year, it just sucks to be KU this year. We will be fine with him being here only two years and are recruiting like he will be gone after that.

100 11 years ago

If there are any coaches or players out there, I would like to hear from you. Imagine an Xbox style computer game between next year's starting five (and bench) and this year's starting five. I ask you to think about this, presuming you have seen footage of Withey. Can you imagine a more dominant frontcourt than Withey and Aldrich? Those two alone make us a preseason top 5. Add in their basketball IQ and skill sets, and we're nearly unstoppable inside. Two seven footers back picking for each other all year? Dominating the baseline? Demolishing the paint? Digesting backboards? All of this, and we have said nothing yet of Collins coming around a screen at the top to flip it over the top to them. Someone converges on Collins? Look who's open -- Little, the #1 juco player in America, finally healthy and, better yet, all alone with the ball. Our offense will be so AWESOME next year.And our D will be night and day different -- Withey already plays rock chalk solid D, but with a year of learning under Self and Manning, this team's interior D will be as good as it comes.The perimeter D also will be a much different story. Collins will be his usual awesome self. Little will be only better, tougher, and healthier. And the X factor, Tyshaun, will be so much stronger, quicker, and hungry, ready to D it up for a run to finish off April.I would like most of you to say nothing to this post. However, if you are an ex-coach, player, or jaybate, I'd like to know HOW we couldn't be preseason #1 next year???

basketball122009 11 years ago

the only thing i can say is aldrich and collins returning next year or are they going to the nba? But if they do come back i think you are right!

kvskubball 11 years ago

He moves with confidence, which is not something that we can say about most of our current squad. Hope it works out right for him. For the team it would have been ok either way. Good luck Mario!

Dale Kroening 11 years ago

As far as Brady at pg , I dont see him as a pg, but HCBS has said on more than one occasion that once and if Mario comes back it will give Brady a chance to play more sg and yes pg. Someone might have already mentioned it but Im too lazy too read through everything.

Joe Ross 11 years ago

jasonsgill...Only ONE of those guys you mentioned can defend a swing 3 man, and thats Releford. I have confidence that Relefords game can pick up, but two people are better than one. Yes, Mario will be here next year but hes the kind of player that, when healthy, can give this team a lift as an impact player. I dont see Releford being that. I see Releford as a solid position player. Why this discourse? Because its good to have guys of that description (impact players) around for a while as youre transitioning into building something solid. Therefore, it would have been better to let Mario come back at 100% than finishing out less than healthy when he's not going to be as effective ANYWAY!Your viewpoint that I am looking toward next year entirely through the lens of this year is a fallacy. Whered you get that? A cracker jack box? Where did I say that all of the factors that go into how good we're going to be are embodied in this one fact? Show me so you can demonstrate my naivete. Otherwise, dont speak for what my position is. Ill do that, thank you.And by the way, the name "Kansas" is a much stronger recruiting tool than is "Mario Little's stat line is (this or that)...". Guess what. Recruiting is rarely about record when you get to the level of prominence Kansas has year in year out. And yes, I realize Self was eager to see if Little could go. But the FACT is that doesnt mean its in Littles best interest to do so. Self competes every year and as a coach he doesnt want to put a less than optimal team on the floor, cause his paycheck demands he do that. That does not mean that decisions made for NOW mean that the LONG TERM prospects are best based on those decisions. Self himself would admit to that. And again, the final decision WAS left with Little.

Joe Ross 11 years ago

by the way, Im not saying Releford can defend a tall 3 NOW (of course he cant). Im saying he has the body type to do it and CAN after being in Coach's system for a while. So Im NOT judging solely through the lens of this year.

Rick Arnoldy 11 years ago

I trust the doctors' opinions over Mario's. If they're both "yea" then "yea". If they say he can go then he can go. I had broken bones way back in high school and as a middle age fat man. It's a lot easier to bounce back as a youngster. I think he'll be fine.

Joe Ross 11 years ago

Ohio. The truth is, I hope youre right. Lets take it for granted, for the sake of argument, that you ARE. You have an impact player available for a year and a half, versus 2 years. What are YOU gonna do? And this is the best-case scenario (namely that he IS 100% now).Not only this, but he IS a player with experience coming from JUCO. But he is NOT a player with much KANSAS experience. If Little could have started this year already knowing the offense, wouldnt that have been advantageous? Had he sat out the remainder of this year he could have been in that position. There is obviously nothing anyone can do about it now if he plays, but lets be honest: even coach said there are pros and cons to playing Little this year. I happen to come down on the side of being conservative.

Greg Lux 11 years ago

Only time will tell ... at least now we will know this year if his experience is going to be some of the help we need on the court... bottom line is we need to STOP teams offensive rebounding us to death. We need some balance scoring inside and out and he can help in both areas.. let's pray he stays healthy and contributes to the level we all hope he can contribute.Rock Chalk

jaybate 11 years ago

Regrettable.I always want to give the coaches the benefit of the doubt on these issues, because they, like the Bush Administration, have all the inside information. But sometimes there just isn't enough possible insider information to draw the inference that the coaches and the Bush Administration are working in people's best interests of all those involved.Little's best interests were to redshirt. Period. You can't get around it.He should have been allowed to.Who benefits most from "his" decision? Little, or the coaching staff?It appears to be the coaching staff.If Little were to red shirt, a kid who is a long shot pro prospect, at best, would probably be able to grind out a degree that could help give him a life.If Little were to red shirt, he could give KU two good years and have a fine collegiate career, maybe experience some stardom and quite probably over the next two years have a deep ride in the tourney.If Little were to red shirt, he could perhaps improve as much as Brady Morningstar has been allowed to improve via red shirt.But instead it appears the coaching staff did what is called shaping the decision space for him. Before school started, they didn't look after his stress fracture from the very beginning, apparently not telling him explicitly to stay off it and to get medical help. After the season started, they rested him, but then they began giving him chances to prove his leg was okay long after it made little sense to do so, unless you were determined to try to get him to play with the injury. They kept saying they wanted him to play, so long as he had no pain. They kept doing what appeared to be CYA for themselves and signalling how much they esteemed him and wanted him playing now. Little's uncle could read the writing on the wall, but young Mario could not. Who can blame him? He's far from home. He's around new people he doesn't know all that well. He has not one but two broken bones. And he's got coaches desperate for him to play to help them avoid a big slide in a rebuilding year. And it probably hasn't helped Mario that Self implied the doctors saw no problem and "left the decision up to Mario." The decision is Marios? Hogwash. When you appear to be shaping the decision space, you are not leaving it up to Mario. Anyone who has seen him play recently knows the guy is not well enough to be playing much, regardless of whether his leg is okay, or not.

jaybate 11 years ago

So: Mario's burning 1 of only 2 years he has at KU to be a designated fouler for 7 minutes a game--an enforcer--the college basketball equivalent of a palooka in prize fighting. Is this what KU basketball is about? Is this what the legacy stands for? The obvious conclusion to draw is this: Self apparently does not value Little that much, as he is turning down the chance to have Little for two full years. Playing him now means only one thing: he thinks he's got better players coming in later.Too bad for Little.Little playing this year only increases the probability of avoiding double digit losses, not of a deep run in the tourney, or anything else comparably heroic, or career advancing. For such a run, The Twins and Tyshawn would need to be sophomore semi-veterans, like Aldrich. They are so far from that it is not even funny.More importantly, it increases the chances of re-injury, or of another injury because he is not at his best. If I'm a parent of a player being recruited by KU, I've got to add this episode to the otherwise short list of reasons not to have your child come to KU. The logic is simple. If you send your kid to KU and he gets injured, they will try to play him rather than redshirt him, even if it is what is best for your kid.Winning smile and all, Bill Self is a hard, hard man about injuries. With Sasha Kaun, he said play him with the knee injury, even though he could barely run and couldn't jump, because the team's performance and Self's winning percentage were likely to be better than if Kaun had redshirted. Kaun never regained his athleticism afterwards and by the end of the season deteriorated to the point that he could do little more than play a few minutes. A medical redshirt for Kaun might well have been the difference between becoming a role player that he became and becoming a dominant big man at KU. With a medical redshirt, Sasha might be in the L right now, rather than somewhere east of Poland. But he got a million clams from the Ruskies, so what's to complain about, right? Wrong. He coulda been somebody, as Brando said in "On the Waterfront."Coaches and trainers are supposed to look after the players and fighters.Mario Little coulda been somebody. Now he's in danger of becoming just another palooka used up by the system.I respect your courage, Mario, but courage always includes doing the smart thing. In fact, doing the smart thing for yourself usually does require courage, because so many benefit if you make the unwise sacrifice that others can free ride on. Coach Self did not get where he is, by sacrificing his best interests to others. Learn from this.But no mistake is insurmountable...if you learn from it. You could even change your mind between now and the KSU game.

actorman 11 years ago

Jaybate, I usually enjoy reading your comments, but I have to say your viewpoint on this is incredibly cynical. If you're right and Self cares that little about his players' careers and bodies, that says that Self isn't even close to the person he comes across as. I choose to believe that he is not that underhanded. In fact, I don't think even most of the slimier coaches would be that callous.All that being said, I tend to agree that it wasn't the right move for Mario to play this year. But it's hard to fault a guy for wanting to play when he has the chance, and there's no question that this year's team desperately needs him.BTW, on a completely different note, jacobpaul, since you felt the need to use the word at least half a dozen times, it would help if you knew that it's "experience," not "experiance."

100 11 years ago

Definitely the right move for Mario. We need him in the flow. Jaybate, for the first time ever, I wonder what you're drinking or if you are forgetting to eat. Everything you said in your post is so incredibly biased. Are you scared Reed won't start anymore? Of course he won't! This is a new team now, with a completely different wrinkle to it. The 18-0 run against KSU was just the beginning of life with Mario Little. And Kaun greatly benefitted from Self's decision making and coaching. I guarantee he wouldnt have been drafted after plauying with any other coachung staff. His knee is fine now. I'm not sure why you don't want Little to play this year. He will really surprise you. Keep the faith jaybate.

Dale Kroening 11 years ago

Once the doctors said he was ok, I think it was the right decision to let Mario decide.

Joe Ross 11 years ago

100...based on Littles performance tonight, this is NOT a team with a new wrinkle to it. And if you argue that Littles performance was off cause he needs a few games to get into the flow of things, you are unwittingly arguing on the side of those who said he should have taken a medical redshirt. From your statements you say you dont understand why Little should NOT play. The cons to his playing have been plainly laid out so I dont know what the confusion is. Yes, there are pros too and I recognize those. I, for one, am of the opinion that the cons STRONGLY outweigh the pros. Its not even close. And if he DOES "surprise" anyone with great play, I will be all the more regretful. Why not put that product of play on the floor when it MATTERS most (i.e., when Kansas can do some damage in the tourney) and for the LONGEST AMOUNT OF TIME POSSIBLE? Captain D, yes. It absolutely was the right decision to let Mario decide. But that doesnt mean he made the best decision (for either his team OR himself). It doesnt mean he DIDNT, but it doesnt mean he DID.

jaybate 11 years ago

FWIW, the doctors have apparently been saying all along that Little can play, or he wouldn't have been out testing his leg the way he has. So Little was NOT given a green light by the doctors that some how set him free to decide now not to redshirt. Quite the opposite--it appears they have cleared the path to play and so made choosing to redshirt rather difficult. The decision has been his since he resumed testing his leg. And I have to dissent about who should have made this decision. Self should have. These players are like race horses trained to run. They have been playing since they were children. They will run till they drop, if given half a chance, unless someone says no. Again, look at the example of Kaun.Self doesn't hesitate to pull a player who is tired whether or not the player wants to come out. He doesn't hesitate to pull a player from a game when he is injured and thinks he ought to come out. He doesn't hesitate to bench players. He doesn't hesitate to kick persons off the team. Coaches decide who can and cannot play. Players only decide if they are willing to play. Self is responsible for Little playing, and not redshirting, not Little. Little is only responsible for being willing to play.Coach Self doesn't make many wrong calls and this one may yet prove to be a good one. But I don't think so. I think he erred on this one.

actorman 11 years ago

You may be right, jaybate, but saying he "erred" is vastly different than the comment you made earlier that Self doesn't "value Little that much." So which is it, an error in judgment or a cynical attempt to exploit a young athlete? It seems like you're trying to have it both ways.

jayhawkcat 11 years ago

Yea, jaybate, going to talk out of both sides of your mouth again?

Dale Kroening 11 years ago

Jaybate I think your wrong on this one. HCBS told him "If your healthy I think you should play,but its your decision". How is giving his honest opinion to a player an error?

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