Sunday, January 25, 2009

Little provides spark for KU

Kansas guard Mario Little puts up a floater over the Iowa State defense during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Mario Little puts up a floater over the Iowa State defense during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.


Audio clips

2009 KU-ISU Jan. 24

Reader poll

Which Big 12 North team has the best home-court advantage (other than KU)?

  • Iowa State 37% 762 votes
  • Nebraska 9% 204 votes
  • Kansas State 4% 101 votes
  • Colorado 1% 26 votes
  • Missouri 46% 960 votes

2053 total votes.

— Not many college basketball players even attempt 14-foot turnaround fadeaways off one leg.

The shot comes naturally for Mario Little.

“I don’t work on it any more. I never really worked on it. I just did it a lot,” Little said. “It’s nothing I work on. I can make those all day.”

Little showed more of his offensive repertoire in Kansas University’s 82-67 victory over Iowa State on Saturday than he had in his earlier appearances.

That included the nearly unguardable fadeaway — one resembling the shot of Little’s childhood hero, Michael Jordan — coming at the 3:35 mark of the first half.

“That’s probably my first time hitting that shot (for KU), actually,” Little said. “It’s good. If I hit that, I know I’ll be on a little bit.”

Little was on for the rest of the half, as he put in two more shots in the next 97 seconds to score six consecutive points for the Jayhawks.

Both buckets came on jumpshots after Little took a few dribbles toward the rim. He even made one mid-range jumper while getting fouled by ISU’s Craig Brackins.

“I’m not hesitant,” Little said. “Especially if we’re struggling, I’m really trying to help us out on the offensive end. I’m not a go-to guy — I’m one of the guys to maybe look for sometimes.

“But we had Sherron (Collins) playing his butt off. Cole (Aldrich) has been playing good, too. Tyshawn (Taylor) has been stepping up. (Sherron’s) going to be the man, so I’m just going to pick my spots, try to get him open. By me getting him open, maybe I can get open.”

Little, for the second straight game, made all his field-goal attempts.

He went 4-for-4 Saturday, scoring nine points in 12 minutes. Going back to the Kansas State game, he has made 11 consecutive field goals.

Little said he once had a long free-throw streak, but he’d never experienced a continued shooting stretch like this.

“It’s just about me getting more reps out there and shooting my shot,” Little said. “I had confidence in myself.”

Little didn’t fare quite as well on the defensive end. He finished with four fouls and had just one defensive rebound.

“I thought (Mario) was good,” Self said. “He just needs to quit fouling.”

Asked jokingly if he was going to miss a shot the rest of the season, Little said, “Probably next game.”

Later in the interview, the junior tried to take back his prediction.

“It’s just something I said. I say a lot of things that I don’t mean,” Little said. “I know I’m going to eventually miss. That’s unheard of. We’ll see.”


Matt Bowers 11 years, 6 months ago

What a great game. It was good to get another road win under our belt. Nebraska will be tough mainly because they have such a great coach in Doc Sadler and they just suffered a home loss to Oklahoma State. Coach Self and Manning will have our guys ready to go and we should do well. The LJWorld really likes Little and I do as well. Watching the games that he has played in, it is easy to see that he really enjoys playing basketball at KU. He is out there having fun, letting the game come to him, and he plays his role. By playing his role he has made the Jayhawks a better team. It was awesome seeing him post up on guys who were 5-6 inches taller and still knock them down. Can not wait to see Little at 100%.A premature prediction, think of it as you will. If we can at least keep Cole next year, our team is going to knock a lot of people down. We will be deep, effective, and mature. Coach Self and Manning have put together one hell of a team. Plus we have nice some supporting cast coming in. Rock Chalk

jhawk23 11 years, 6 months ago

I ditto that. Kudos to Coach Townsend and Dooley, too.

agraves 11 years, 6 months ago

Little is going to be a very good 3 man. This team will be very very good when we MM, MM, and QT will step up so we don't have to put 6'5 Little on 6'10 Brackins. how many of those four fouls were him trying to stop someone who was 5 inches taller than him.BTW...that fade away shot and his spin move on brackins for a left handed lay up are two of the best plays we have had all year!

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 6 months ago

Little can't play the 3 until the Morris twins start playing more than 20 minutes in the game. they foul like they breathe....which is often. they've had their moments, but it's grown up time now.....they HAVE to start playing. and that's literally what that means. Unless they're on the floor, Little won't be able to do the things we know he can you see him out there running around setting all those screens in the halfcourt? he's hustling like mad, but playing out of position. Bless his heart, he's on the court....but we have to be able to help him.This team could do special things this year....but some of our recruits have to step up their game.

John Strayer 11 years, 6 months ago

I wouldn't be too hard on the Morris twins...some of those fouls on Brackins were phantom....I highly doubt he gets half of those calls on the return trip to Lawrence. I am so sick of seeing out of position officials making calls because they think something had to have happened. If you don't see it...don't assume.However, the foul situation in the second half really became funny when ISU needed fouls to stop the ISU coach sends a bench player in to specifically get KU into the bonus...four straight fouls...and the ISU crowd is booing the officiating on each call. In the meantime almost 30 seconds comes off the clock...don't see it too often when being on the short end of the foul count actually helps you work the clock down.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 6 months ago

I also agree with "JpStrayer" about not being too hard on the Twins and even QT as well. I'm usually not one to complain about refs, but this was a pretty obvious observation yesterday. It did seem to me like the refs know the one spot they can make "Safe" calls is against the twins and QT. In previous games, I'm pretty convinced 95 percent of the calls that went against those three, they deserved. Yesterday, I thought it was poor officiating and the twins and QT got hit with some pretty "Petty" calls IMHO. Who knows, maybe this will be good going forward, providing a little "Humility" that is. I know ISU was a crucial game, just like Nebraska will be on Wednesday, but when the game is on a "Higher" level, Self will make sure that won't happen against his "Young Forwards". I guess you could say it's a blessing in disguise that Mario Little didn't red-shirt. It's great to see him slowly increase his "Game Shape" and "Stamina" with each game. I know it's probably not going to be until the end of the season or possibly next year, but I can't wait to see him fully regain his "Hops".

Chris Shaw 11 years, 6 months ago

I can not believe how favorable KU's schedule has turned out this year for our "Young Squad. KU took care of business at ISU and now it's time at Nebraska. We shouldn't give game like this away, but I can certainly see Nebraska giving KU a great game. The cornhuskers recent performance at OU should send signals that they won't back down to their mighty rivals to the South. I know it's never a good thing to "Look Forward", but as a fan I can certainly do things like this and it won't effect anybody but me. It's already been stated in a recent LJW article that KU could very likely be 6-0 in conference after a game at Nebraska and a home game against Colorado. Let's take a look at their final 10 conference games. Keep in mind that KU doesn't play OU (12th game) and Texas (16th and final game) until the final quarter of conference games. I mean, it couldn't have worked out more beautifully to play "The Top of the Conference Teams" at the end of the season. I think that is great timing, perfect preparation, and a little lucky that the schedule turned out like this. 7) At Baylor-Who knows what Baylor team will show up-Toss up game8) Okie State-In AFH and I think KU increases it's winning streak to 379) At Missouri-Could be 7-1 or 8-0 heading into this game-I think KU loses at Missouri.10) AT KSU-KU starts a new Road winning streak at AFH West. 38 Straight11) Iowa State-No Chance at Home 39 Straight12) Nebraska-No Chance at Home 40 Straight13) OU-Bad feeling about this game-KU loses an could be anywhere from 11-2 to 10-3 after this OU loss.14) MIssouri-Feel sorry for Missouri because we just loss to OU. 41 Straight15) Texas Tech-No Chance at Home 42 Straight16) Texas-This will be an interesting game because KU could be anywhere between 13-2 and 12-3 (Depending on what happened with Baylor). I give KU a loss and Texas snaps KU's 42 game home winning streak and KU finishes 3rd in conference at 12-4. Again, some of these games could go either way such as Baylor and Texas, but I think it's inevitable we lose at OU and Missouri. I like the "Toss UP" games with Baylor and Texas, but what I don't like is that "Unexpected" performance or "Surprise" game. We all know it's going to happen, but we just don't know which game it will be. It could be at Nebraska on Wednesday. Maybe it's at Home to Texas Tech or on the road at KSU (I could see this one happening). I don't know, but I think KU's chances of finishing better than 11-5 have never been better and I wouldn't put it pass this young squad to possibly be 13-2 (Is that possible with this team?). The only thing I do know is that schedule was printed for this Jayhawk team to get fully prepared towards the end of the season and gear up for the Big 12 tourney and NCAA tourney.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 6 months ago

So my winning streak number got put on the wrong line, hence, gave the Jayhawks one game too many for their streak. the 38 should be moved down vice versa so in the end Texas would be ending the Jayhawks 41 home game winning streak. My bad! I just got overzealous seeing "KSU" on the schedule and always just wanting to put a win on that line. My bad!

rtjayhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

KUShaw....I hope you're wrong about Missouri. The "tiggers" are playing well, but I still don't like losing to them even if it is at their house.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 6 months ago

"15) Texas Tech-No Chance at Home 42 Straight"KU is at TTech. a tough environment,...but they play no D. should still be a win.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 6 months ago

I'll say it..I have no shame...I think there is a small possibility that they win all our games. There, I said it. It's what all of us down deep really wish for. Why not? We haven't lost yet...and the schedule, as Kushaw points out couldn't have been tailored better to provide a difficulty curve roughly the same as the learning curve of this young team.If we lose...we lose, but I'm not going to give up on any game against anyone. I'll let you guys be realistic. I have to be realistic with my job, the economy, the weather, the IRS, etc.The heck if I'm going to be realistic about something I truly love and find exilarating. I played sports and it never once occurred to me that I will lose this game, although I lost my share. Do more than enjoy the ride...put the pedal to the metal and blast off!!!!!GO KANSAS....GO HAWKS!!!!!

Chris Shaw 11 years, 6 months ago

mvjayhawk: Thanks! I don't like the "Schedule" When you scroll quickly with the eyes, it makes it look like every game is at "Home". I wish they put "At" in front of the opponents. Thanks

Lance Hobson 11 years, 6 months ago

It's killing us that Little is still hurt. He is just waiting to explode and would be the star of this team on many nights if he could just get in there and go all out for 35 minutes. Hopefully another four days of rest off of a 12-minute outing will allow him to make a big contribution against Nebraska. We need this guy.

kansasYEA 11 years, 6 months ago

the Morris twins are disappointing. im just hopeful bill can perform a miracle.

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