Monday, January 26, 2009


Little defines scorer


Some basketball players, such as Kansas University’s Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar, are shooters. They go to their spot on the floor, wait for the defense to collapse on the driving guard or the posting-up center and wait to step into a pass for an open shot. Their baskets tend to be swishes.

Other basketball players are better described as scorers. They find different ways to put points on the board. They create for themselves. They improvise, which makes them difficult to scout, tough to guard, frustrating to see play against the team for which you’re rooting. Sometimes their shots hit nothing but net. Other times they use the backboard. Often, their shots bounce softly around the rim and fall through the net. Defining them as shooters is too limiting, but they do get the shooter’s bounce, more often than not.

Marcus Morris, once he becomes accustomed to the speed of the college game and gets a better feel for knowing the difference between speeding up and hurrying, could develop into a scorer. He’s a threat posting up, has great hands, good feet and has shown flashes of three-point shooting range. As his penchant for firing airballs reveals, he hasn’t arrived as a scorer yet, which gives him something in common with most freshmen.

Seven games into his Div. I career, Mario Little already can be defined accurately as a scorer. He scores on a post-up here, a duck-and-drive there, a one-handed runner now and then, and with a signature move that’s darn-near impossible to defend. That would be his fade-away jumper.

In his past two games, Little, a junior from Chicago, has played a combined 26 minutes and scored 24 points. He has made his last 11 field-goal attempts and generally has shown why red-shirting this season would have been a big mistake. Kansas needs him now, in part because he’s what the Jayhawks have lacked all year, a consistent third scoring threat to complement 5-foot-11 Sherron Collins and 6-11 Cole Aldrich. Split the difference and what you get is the 6-5 Little, a mid-range marvel.

After scoring nine points in 12 foul-plagued minutes against Iowa State, Little talked about what made Cyclones power forward Craig Brackins so tough on his way to a 42-point game.

“He’s big,” Little said. “He’s like 6-10, and he’s skilled. He can put it on the deck, he can face up, jab and go, face you up and go right over the top of you. He’s a tough matchup problem.”

Except for the big part, Little just as easily could have been talking about himself, minus five inches.

Ideally, he would play small forward, but the greater need at the moment for Kansas is at power forward, where nobody has performed consistently enough to win the job. Playing alongside Aldrich means the center has to take on the assignment of checking the best big man, but it’s not as if any of the big players on the roster can come close to doing that as well as Aldrich anyway.

A number of Big 12 power forwards can pose matchup problems for Little, but in each case, he returns the favor, pulling them away from the basket and either releasing a jumper before they can get to him or driving around him.

Little’s return to health gives Kansas the look of a team schools are going to want to avoid on Selection Sunday.


TheTruth08 10 years, 12 months ago

Little's fadeaway is sweet. Raef LaFrentz used to have a sweet one, too. Wayne Simien's also couldn't be guarded. Those two were automatic with that move. My fadeaway set shot used to be sweet too, on the play grounds of Kansas City, Kan. Couldn't stop it. I don't see Marcus Morris or Markieff ever being scorers. They just haven't shown any flashes at all. To be honest, I don't know what they'll turn out to be. I'm not sure where they'll hang their hats. I can't say they've shown flashes of greatest in any aspect, except fouling. They don't look like fluid scorers (they look lost), haven't been consistent on the boards and what's troubling is their seemingly low basketball IQs. The good? They're tall and they're freshmen, so there's always room for improvement. I just don't see where it's going to come from. With every freshman you see glimpses, especially around this time of year. Julian Wright was a passer, Brandon Rush was a defender and good rebounder. He developed a three-point shot later in his career. Darrell Arthur was an athletic freak with some nice post moves. TT is a speedy guard who can't be kept out of the lane. Sherron Collins was a speedy guard, like TT, who lived in the lane. He also had a nice shoot from the outside. Mario Chalmers was a defensive beast and sweet shooter. Darnell Jackson was a good rebounder and hustled. Russell Robinson was a gifted defender. With the Twins, I'm still waiting. The best you can hope for at this point, from what they've shown so far, are two serviceable players who won't hurt you when they're on the floor. Nothing more.

FlaHawk 10 years, 12 months ago

LIttle has great upside, but he needs to learn to play defense. His fouls per minutes is higher than the Twins. This has got to be the all-time KU team for total persoal fouls. KU has and will give up at least 8-10 points a game at the free throw line due to the penchant to foul due to poor defensive techniques,Against OU and Baylor and yes, even UT you can not give up 8-10 points to the other team (IMHO)!.

Viggo3003 10 years, 12 months ago

The Truth 08 meet me on the playground at 3 this afternoon and I'll rule ya 1-1 :)

pnl14 10 years, 12 months ago

TheTruth- Your analysis of the twins and some other jayhawks is pretty weak. About the only thing you got right was that they pick up stupid fouls. Their rebounds per minute is actually pretty good. Their shots have improved throughout the year and they run the high-low way better than Darrell or Julian ever ran it. The only thing they need to fix is picking up stupid fouls...and that will come. Pretty soon they will average 7 and 7 and thats all we will need. Darnell barely played as a freshmen so he had time to learn the offense before playing...Darrell would pick up several stupid fouls as a freshmen and Julian would commit several stupid turnovers trying to dribble around the court. They are getting better, but the dumb fouls are putting a cloud over that.

Alex Lent 10 years, 12 months ago

Dumb, stupid, even selfish is what I would call it. Pnl14 - I like your analysis except the twins are more athletic and have many other weapons than Jackson did. The only thing that Darnell did different was played his butt off. I know, it's early and Ive heard that so many times lately regarding the twin towers but man, have we really seen that much improvement with considering the playing time they get? The foul where Marcus pushed Brackins out of bounds; plain stupid. They have WAY too many fouls like that! It's time they start hustling and hopefully their bball IQ with rise along with that.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 12 months ago

I don't know... The Truth's analysis isn't that far off other than they do have potential and are improving with each game. They still don't know how to play defense, but should get better in time.I think we need to hire Richard Scott to our program to teach our young kids how to use your body for posting up. There was no one better at it.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 12 months ago

Well said KUdude. Marcus in particular has at times made some wonderful passes/assists. Their D has also improved enough to keep Cole from getting into trouble when he has to step in with help defense. It seems that the competition is and they need to learn to play with whole new level of intensity. It's a shame they don't have 3 NBA draft picks (2 that developed from "potential" players) to learn against this year.

dylans 10 years, 12 months ago

Some of those fouls in the ISU game were phantom calls. I sure didn't see any contact on a few of the re-plays!

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 12 months ago

Give me a break KUdude, that was NOT a foul. Brackins dribbled the ball out of bounds and the official bailed him out at Morris' expense.

Mark Winter 10 years, 12 months ago

There were 2 separate plays. The first one under the basket Marcus did shove him out of bounds. The other one was a bogus call as both were going for the ball.

JayhawkPhil64 10 years, 12 months ago

At best, the jury is still out on the Morris twins. They have not improved significantly since the first of the year but they continue to show flashes of potential-- particularly when they are running the floor. Whether they reach that potential still remains to be seen.As long as the twins continue to struggle I would like to see Thomas get at least 5 minutes a game. I know he is not nearly as talented as the twins but I like the way he hustles.

TheTruth08 10 years, 12 months ago

Viggo3003: I'll be there with my J's on. pnl14: I can't agree with you on the Twins' execution of the high-low offense being better than Darrell and Julian. Julian was a stud in the high low, at the top of the key, creating plays. And comparing the Twins to Darrell Arthur just isn't fair at all. Darnell didn't play much during his freshman season, but when he did see the floor you noticed his ability to be an aggressive rebounder and play with energy. It jumped out at you, even had me wondering why HCBS didn't play him more. I never said any of the freshman were perfect. I never said they came out of high school ready for the pros, but you always saw flashes.

KUFan90 10 years, 12 months ago

Anyone else notice how Q Thomas seems to get good early position, but our guards seem reluctant to feed him? They have missed him (or chosen to ignore him) several times that I've seen in the few minutes he is in there. I say give him a chance.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 12 months ago

Did anyone see that Houston player stomp on the face of the Arizona player? Everyone's going crazy about it but it was pretty funny how he pretended not to see him and "accidentally" lift his leg up and step right on his noggin. The refs didn't bye the acting job, which was about as good as Michael Phelps' performance on SNL.

mikehawk 10 years, 12 months ago

I think with the twins it is just a matter of maturity. They show flashes of how good they can be, but they still lanquish in overdrive at 60 mph cool, with no real apparent interest in downshifting once in awhile. I am troubled with Coach's reaction when asked about their performance at the press conference, as his first reaction sounded as frustrated as we fans. But he recovered, and indicated they did alright other than the fouling. After watching the replay twice, I would agree. It wasn't all bad. I think their best basketball this season is still ahead for them. Hey Twins, try 3rd gear at a higher rpm. It's fun.

yovoy 10 years, 12 months ago

i didn't think i'd EVER defend the twins, but here goes:they are physical geniuses. i don't think they know yet, but the 2 are almost freaks. when we get a couple of 2/3 guards that can score, the diversity they have in their offensive games will be able to be better-showcased. they run down outlet passes and put them in when they shouldn't even catch up to them. they rebound lots of balls they shouldn't get their hands on. lots of their rebounding prowess has to do w/ their physicality when going to the glass. they get lots of boards because they're doing dirty work (pushing/elbowing/etc) before they do anything else. that's learned from playing, not coaching, and that's what those 2 do. they play by using what god gave them. sometimes there's no call, most of the time there is. they get some downright raggedy-arsed calls go against them. they haven't made a "name" yet. when they get calls for moving screens (which is too often), over half the time it's because sherron doesn't run his man off the screen like he should be doing each and every time. they have to go from a legal offensive position to set the pick, then they get into trouble. watch some tape, and i think you'll agree. they will be better when they learn to use god's gifts AND ourSelf's gifts. they are on the way there, and for anyone to think they aren't as good (if not much, much more unpolished) than darrel, is not correct. they don't look to score like he did, but at their age, and this stage in the season, they are probably as "effective" as he was at that same stage his frosh year. the more you're on the floor, the more chances you have to make mistakes.

mjlindsm 10 years, 12 months ago

Am I the only person who doesn't see this supposed potential from the Twins? Why do people say they are athletic? They have no ability to play above the rim and aren't really that quick. They are fast when running a straight line. That's about it. We only see that because they seem to break for the offensive end as soon as the other team shoots, which accounts for their often poor defensive rebounding. And Markieff's performance against ISU Saturday really disgusted me. He made one basket and then the next two possessions demanded the ball as if he were the go-to guy only to try impossible shots. I'm not sure if they're that selfish or if their basketball IQ is just that low - and I mean CJ Giles low. With Robinson and Withey in next year, would we really even lose anything if they transfer? I know it would help my blood pressure during the games.

KGphoto 10 years, 12 months ago

You plaged my post Keegs. I called him "the best pure scorer I've seen in a while", and that "his midrange game is beautiful", and that he's the perfect third scoring threat for KU. And the next day we get this. I practically wrote this column for you.Hey at least you know I good idea when you steal it.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

KGpicfile,I am imagining you as Kevin Costner playing Elliot Ness in The Untouchables standing alone at night on a bridge spanning the green Chicago River running backwards.You have just done good yesterday, pointing out the difference between scoring and shooting, but feel you have been outflanked by Al "Keegs" Capone in a virtual city that is too cowed to notice.Along comes this night stick twirling Beat Cop played by Sean Connery. He sizes you up, thinks you may be a suicide at first, but then realizes you're just another virtual citizen struggling with the unfairness of life in phase space. He asks you if you have a problem.You shrug, light a cigarette that you seem too inexperienced to be smoking, and then say that you're an online Untouchable and you enforce the law of logic and original ideas on and you feel you got robbed today by Al "Keegs" Capone and no one notices unless you point it out. The old Beat Cop nods knowingly, twirls his stick and puts it back on his belt. He looks around and tries to decide whether telling the young cop, who may be his superior, a thing or two. He knows how putrid and compromised the river beneath them is and he knows that the author that is animating both of them, David Mamet, is using the river as a symbol of the corruption of life that both are, in their own ways, as manipulated characters, trying to bridge by doing good, each in their own ways.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

They old cop rocks up and down on his heels to keep his feet warm and then decides to try.He says, "In virtual Chicago, lad, there are three ways to look at apparent plagiarism.1. If you are copy righted and its your property, and you can point to a verbatim duplication, get yourself a pitbull lawyer from the Loop and demand attribution and some compensatory damages.2. If you are not copy righted and you put a message in a bottle (i.e., internet posting), then consider it the sincerest form of flattery and move on. To paraphrase some tough love you have probably given others, like jaybate, nobody cares.3. Realize that most ideas of a timely nature occur to many persons at the same time and get written simultaneously, or in close series, without any plagiarism at all. In this case, you look in the mirror, high five yourself, and say, holy mother of Jesus, once again I'm one with the zeitgeist...and move on like a good lad."You look at the beat cop and his eyes pierce through you. You know he has been there before you. You don't like being given advice, but you know what he is saying is true.He stands straight and erect and unbowed by the corruptions he has lived with for longer than you have been alive.

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

He adds, "Number three is often the case in these sorts of situations. No matter what screenplay, or novel idea you come up with, there are going to be a half dozen other lads getting the same idea at around the same time and producing parallel products. Its kind of odd, but there just is something called a collective unconscious in this fallen world that we are all drawing from. You gotta learn to love it, lad, because without it, readers would never say, hey, KGphoto, way to go, you said what was in my head that I could not, or did not have time to say, or said and noone heard."The old beat cop continues, "This is not to say there are no prose thiefs in virtual Chicago--far from it, I should say. The Heathen Italians, Jews and Protestants, none of 'em can be trusted, as one can a good Irish Catholic whose mother bore him Dublin, of course. And it is not to say the Keegs, in a deadline pinch, is necessarily above borrowing a good concept (and it was a good concept, lad). But to paraphrase that pompous old David Hume, 'Lad when it comes right down to it in this crazy world, I cannot say with certainty that the baseball going through the window caused the glass to break. I can only say that the baseball passing through and the glass breaking occurred in very close proximity in time.' Put another way, lad, causality is a bitch to prove."The beat cop glances up and down the bridge to make sure they are still not being overheard.Satisfied, he says, "But see here, a saavy lad, or lass, who takes the time to formulate an idea into pixels, certainly does have the right to say, 'The day after I said Little is a scorer not a shooter, Keegs came to the same conclusion.' Then let all of the citizens connect the dots, lad."The Beat Cop rocks back and forth again on his heels."There endeth the lesson."And off he goes to walk his beat throught the dark streets of the virtual city with the river running backwards.

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