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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mario Little making strides in red-shirt campaign

Kansas guard Mario Little warms up before the Jayhawks tip off against Nebraska Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Mario Little warms up before the Jayhawks tip off against Nebraska Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Ten pounds lighter — and a heck of a lot healthier than a year ago — Mario Little has made quite an impression at Kansas University basketball workouts during the 2009-10 season.

“Honestly, I think Mario is the best 1-on-1 player we have on our whole team. He’s tough to guard,” said KU junior Conner Teahan, assessing his roommate’s progress during a red-shirt campaign.

“Mario’s a tough matchup at the 4 (power forward) and at the 3 (small forward). He’s so strong and athletic. I mean, he has quick, quick moves and a really good stroke,” Teahan added of the versatile 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior.

“He makes up his mind, knows what he wants to do with the ball. He’s gotten better at every aspect of the game.”

The ever-modest Little — he decided to red-shirt to give his surgically repaired lower left leg time to heal and become more effective on the perimeter — reluctantly agrees with his buddy’s assessment.

“I’m in shape, dribbling without hesitation, shooting the three-point shot a lot, things like that,” Little said. “I’m more aggressive. I’m getting better every day (while) waiting for next year.”

He wishes he could say he has been waiting patiently.

Little, who starred at Chicago’s Washington High School and Florida’s Chipola Community College before averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 23 KU games last season, says practicing and not playing in games has been “humbling.”

“I want to play in all the games, but certain games I really want to play — like the big games,” Little said. “If we’re struggling, I really want to play. It’s new coming from always being in the game to being a cheerleader. It’s humbling, like I said.”

It’s humbling to go from Chicago Southside area prep player of the year to Rivals.com’s No. 1-rated juco player to KU rotation player to a guy on the Red Team — the scout team — at practice.

“Sometimes I get tired of being a practice dummy, but it’s cool. I’m helping the guys get better,” Little said.

Little, who was used primarily at power forward last season, has played various positions at practice this year.

“It’s basically wherever they need me,” Little said. “I’ve got to stick with Marcus (Morris) a lot because sometimes the other guys really can’t. Sometimes I might guard X (Xavier Henry), Sherron (Collins), Cole (Aldrich) … everybody. I still do stuff at the 2, at the 3, the 4. I’m doing a lot.”

Including spending extra time in the gym and the weight room. Little’s top weight of 220 pounds last year was far from ideal.

“I was down to 203 at one point. Now I’m 209, 210. It’s so I can be quicker. I won’t get tired as fast,” Little said.

He hasn’t forgotten about his teammates while working on his own game.

“Mario has taken more of a vocal role just because he knows he can’t be out there on the court,” Teahan said. “He’s been through some stuff so everybody kind of respects what he has to say.”

Little said he tries to fire up the younger Jayhawks during pre-game drills.

“I try to make sure everybody is ready, try to get everybody hyped up,” Little said. “That’s the way you have to be — intense. I want to make sure our motor is running, try to get everybody ready to play the game and not be lackadaisical.”

Though Little wishes he could contribute in games, he has never second-guessed his decision to postpone his senior campaign until 2010-11.

Remember, he came close to red-shirting the 2008-09 season.

“Last year I know I was helping the team out by playing. I knew my teammates wanted me to play,” Little said. “Last year was my decision, but I didn’t make the decision for myself. I made it for the betterment of the team.

“I sat out this year to have a better year next year. It’s kind of why I really want to sit out, to get better.”

Little ultimately wants to play for pay.

“NBA,” he said, adding, “If I have to, I’ll go to Europe or someplace like that. But I’ll still work to try to get to the NBA. I love the game so much. I have to play,” said Little, who will graduate in May of 2011 with a degree in African-American Studies.

Kansas coach Bill Self, who believes Little will “impact our program on the court,” maintains landing a degree is the most important factor in the red-shirt decision.

“This will benefit Mario because not as many hours transfer (from junior college). It’d have been difficult for him to graduate. He’d have gotten closer this May, but those are definitely advantages,” Self said.

Little is in no hurry to leave town.

“College is fun. I’m getting better. I’m around my teammates longer because they really want me to stay around. They like me and all that,” Little said.

Indeed ... “He’s one of the nicest, funniest guys on the team,” Teahan said. “Don’t get me wrong. He is a competitor. We see that at practice every day, but at the point he’s at right now, I don’t think he’s trying to take anything too seriously.”

Not until his red-shirt season is finally over with.

Comments

100 4 years, 7 months ago

Oklahoma State website:

several OSU fans are predicting they will hold Cole Aldrich to zero points on Saturday & their "vicious perimeter Defense" will force Sherron to have between ten & fifteen turnovers.

One OSU fan said, "We will flat out dominate KU this weekend, I can't wait!"

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Dale Kroening 4 years, 7 months ago

All they have to do is look at what they did tonight in Austin and what we did. If Pittman did what he did against them, Cole is going to have a good game. They're crowd will be hyped as will their players, but Im predicting we see our Jayhawks finally put together a full game Saturday. Our biggest challenge will be slowing Anderson down.

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brianharold9 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm not too worried about ONE player really. I just worry that some of their "other" players might get hot and shoot out of their minds. But one player doesn't worry me as much. --> See Texas & d. (b.9ch) James.

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3GJayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Good article. I keep forgetting how good we should be again next year. Loaded again basically.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 7 months ago

Off topic but here goes:

UNC did indeed fall at home last night FSU in the last tossup game of the season. They are heavy underdawgs in remaing games. We handle biz and likely earn two thousand in Columbia ahead of UNC, who now are on the NIT bubble.

ESPN has great clip: "the artist formally known as N. Carolina Basketball" then they show the EMPTY stands with 90% of upper deck deserted at start of game. Vast empty arena. Glad Roy was here, not happy he is recruiting our talent, stay east.

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NH_JHawk 4 years, 7 months ago

lighthawk -

Are you sure that was UNC playing last night? Between the empty seats, the domination of FSU (playing on the road), and those Purdue look-a-like jerseys, I'm not sure it was them. Oh wait a minute, they lost again. Yep, that was definitely UNC.

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NH_JHawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Can't wait to see ML play next year. That kid has a sweet shot and is going to be a solid contributor next year.

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 7 months ago

The atmophere at OSU is a big factor whenever we play there. It will probably get pretty quiet about halfway through the first half however. Pittman didn't seem to be bothered last night there while putting on a clinic. Cole will also dominate in the paint there but will need to bring out his inner-beast like Pittman did and like we know he can do when pressured. Our team development will be the key to our success with Henry and McMorris bolstering the low post. Our committee of guards will not be able to make lazy passes and step back 3's against OSU. They'll have to fight for every attempt all over the court.

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Paul Meyer 4 years, 7 months ago

Mario, if you read these comments, thanks for all your patience and your great attitude. Phenomenal way of making a tough situation into a win win -- healing and getting a degree. And it sounds as if your positive approach is really adding to the team's chemistry this year. Can't wait to see you play next year.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 7 months ago

NLJ yes the grey UNC uniforms were a bit odd, I figured ole roy told them until they win again they don't get the blue back - just the grey .... colorless...lifeless.

if you stubhub UNC tix they are negative dollars- they send you tix + the $$$$. .')

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KU1992 4 years, 7 months ago

I wouldn't call UNC a "heavy underdog" against Miami. I also think that games at UNC. Miami is something like 4-9 in the ACC and UNC is 3-10. so that will be a good game. That would still leave them at 1999 wins though : )

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Steve Brown 4 years, 7 months ago

Mario next year seems a long way, actually a blink of the eye, and your dedication and efforts will help us win the 7th straight conf. championship.2011.

Your work at the 3/4 will be intregal. For this year, keep getting guys ready and Thank you.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 7 months ago

Tue Mar 2 (55) Miami FL W, 75-72 71 62% Home

'92 correct, pentom has 62% of w in dean dome and by 3 points average. I typed an error, was thinking unlikely to get the needed (2) more...underdogs to win the needed 2 more games, once FSU last night slipped their grasp. thanks for clarification.

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Aligned 4 years, 7 months ago

Very interesting story. I've been wondering how things have been going for Mario. I also enjoyed the comments by Conner, he appears to be a well-spoken young man.

We're very happy to have you here at KU Mario. Trust me, you haven't been forgotten.

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bradynsdad 4 years, 7 months ago

i hope relaford is working just as hard on his game as mario. mario has a great strok and i can see him being the clutch shooter next year in the close games. what is the count now ku1996 and unc1998 i cant remember, we are breaking to many records to keep track of them all.

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rockchalk80 4 years, 7 months ago

Great article... I think Mario is one of our most underrated players---and why Self doesn't seem to be too concerned about (replacing Henry)/recruiting at the 3 next year.

I know we have yet to see the real Mario Little play ball.

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rockchalk80 4 years, 7 months ago

Great article... I think Mario is one of our most underrated players---and why Self doesn't seem to be too concerned about (replacing Henry)/recruiting at the 3 next year.

I know we have yet to see the real Mario Little play ball.

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Ron Prichard 4 years, 7 months ago

Great article, Gary! Thinking about all the players playing this year, I completely forgot Mario and Releford redshirted. I remember last year watching Mario for what little time he was able to play thinking he was so freaking athletic if he could just get healthy and grasp the offense, he would be awesome. Couple that with the hunger from a year of not being able to play and banging against the Morris twins in practice all year and he could be a beast! Next year should be just as fun to watch as this year!

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cklarock 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the piece on Mario -- he's going to be huge for us next year, no doubt about it. What a weapon he'll be.

Mario, get your degree and then you'll be set for whatever life has to offer after your pro days are over.

DIGTBAJ (Damn it's good to be a Jayhawk)

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opie81 4 years, 7 months ago

I too hope that you read these comments Mario, or someone relays them to you. Thank you very much for being such a great person, both on and off the court. As previous posts have mentioned already, you have been an integral piece in the mental fortitude of this year's team, and you will be an integral force in helping us win a 7th straight Big 12 title next year.

All us fans need to feel lucky to have people of such high character to cheer on to victory.

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BCRavenJHawkfan 4 years, 7 months ago

Also explains how Marcus and Xavier have been able to improve so much, going against Mario in practice!

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Theutus 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't think people give Mario Little nearly enough credit... He was pulling down rebounds last year (consistently) against guys 4-6 inches bigger than him... Just with athletic ability and the fight he has in him. Not only that, but his shot is extremely smooth.... Some guys just don't get the press, whether it's political, or family ties etc... Some guys just don't get the press they deserve. Next year though, Little will dominate. Mark my words.

I can not wait to see Little hit the court at 100%.

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justanotherfan 4 years, 7 months ago

Remember, there was talk in the preseason that Little and Releford were really pushing X at the 3. I could see both of them starting next year (Little at the 3, Releford at his more natural 2) because of their athleticism. Throw them in with the twins and Tyshawn, and that is a ridiculously athletic starting 5 (big, too). And don't forget about the super athletic Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson coming off the bench. That's seven legit players right there, not including whatever recruits we land.

Oh, and that would be for a team that could be defending more than just a Big XII title.

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Studogg 4 years, 7 months ago

This gives me encouragement for next year when all the press is going to be about life at KU after SC and CA. They will be missed for sure, but HCBS is always thinking and preparing for his team to be in a position to contend for the title every year.

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tical523 4 years, 7 months ago

Mario Little is going to be a stud for us. He is really mature and he has that old school type of game, similar to when grown men played in the NBA. He kind of resembles Larry Bird with that deadly, crafty, high-release jumper in which he only needs minimal space to get his shot off. And just like those old school players he plays with toughness and focus. I really like his style, kind of unorthodox for today's game. Also the fact he can play 1-3, maybe even the 4 if the team goes small. So versatile and such a good dude. I definately CAN wait, but I sure am excited for next year.

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championhawks 4 years, 7 months ago

Justanotherfan... don't forget Withey too. I think Manning will work with him and he will make huge strides this off season.

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justanotherfan 4 years, 7 months ago

champion,

You're right. I always end up forgetting Withey. I have liked the flashes I've seen from him so far. He is going to be a factor. He may start over Markieff. That gives us an even deeper rotation.

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championhawks 4 years, 7 months ago

Having Withey will help us defensively too. Losing Cole will hurt down low, but if Withey can improve and become a starter, he can slip right into Coles role (at least defensively)

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David Hodges 4 years, 7 months ago

Your also forgetting about the other Henry, who has proven when hes been able to get minutes that he is a very talented guard. Self already has Royce Woolridge coming in, an underrated SG, and could possibly only have one other scholarship to give out. There is a small chance that X returns and as much as Cole seems to love college it wouldn't blow my mind if he stayed. Next years squad, in theory could be all return players with the exception of Mr Woolridge. Maybe a long shot but maybe not. Even if we lose Cole and X we are left with a team with no major holes to fill.

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Phoggin_Loud 4 years, 7 months ago

100, Kinda like the dominated Texas last night? Pretty bold, but fans are fans.

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milehighhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Hats off to Mario Little. It takes quite a bit from being The Man to sitting out what would have been his senior year.

Great to hear that he's continuing to push the others in practice while stepping up his own game.

Dude has one of the sweetest looking jumpers I've seen & can't wait to see it next year!

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Joe Baker 4 years, 7 months ago

Mario! Long time, no hear. I see him on the bench, but not heard a word about him.

The ever-modest Little — he decided to red-shirt to give his surgically repaired lower left leg time to heal and become more effective on the perimeter — reluctantly agrees with his buddy’s assessment.

Hang in there Mario! You did the best thing at this point for yourself and the team. Your patience will pay huge dividends. It sounds like you are getting better by the day.

Rock Chalk- Can't wait to see Mario play! Beat the Pokes

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Joe Baker 4 years, 7 months ago

100- I love that joke from the Poke!!

Hold Cole to zero? Force Sherron to multiple turnovers? Can it be done? Possibly, but not likely!!

Thanks for the laugh today. This is my dose of OSU humor.

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Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

Mario Little has showed a lot of class since he arrived in Lawrence. He's got a great attitude. He's got rhythm. He's got a beautiful jumper... the form, the release, the rotation. It's obvious by watching his turnaround fadeaway that he grew up mimicing MJ. When he leaves KU, he'll leave with the respect of the entire fan and alumni base. I think he'll catch on in the pros. I'm glad that he's sticking around to be a leader and to get his degree next year.

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jchief40 4 years, 7 months ago

Maxhawk wrong from what I hear Henry will be a lottery pick. Especially if he keeps playing the way he did against OU Monday. I'd like to see him come back another year but it's no secret he's got the potential (key word since NBA drafts on potential!) - size, SMOOTH shot ..... he's a goner buddy.

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okiedave 4 years, 7 months ago

Can somebody tell me why NC did not wear their White with Carolina Blue background?? Only got to see portions of the game and it was probably discussed by the commentators, but did not hear. Is Roy experimenting or refusing to let them wear their gear until they start acting like a NC traditional team??

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jaybate 4 years, 7 months ago

WARNING: THREAD HIGHJACK :-)

"Some More Things I'd Like to Point Out About a KU-UC Match-Up"

Sherron vs. Wall: Self may well reduce the entire game to Sherron vs. Wall. Wall will have to guard Sherron and he won't be able to. Wall will blow by Sherron a few times early, but as the game wears on and the pressure and physicality begin to wear Wall down, he will become less and less a threat, just as Rose became. Wall is not as good as Rose. He is not as strong as Rose. He does not protect the ball as well as Rose. Wall is the weak link in this UC team, contrary to popular opinion. Sherron contained Rose when Sherron was a freshman. Sherron will put it to Wall, as a senior. When Wall has to guard Sherron an entire game, Wall will tire and not reach his average efficiently, if at all. The way to shut Wall down is to force him to play on-ball defense almost every time down the floor. Wall will get 15, most in the first half, and Sherron will hang 20-22 on Wall, or perhaps even more if Self decides to play through Sherron, as I suspect he will. You will understand more about why Self will do this, when you read about the rest of the match-ups below. Too many focus on what Wall can do and not enough on what he is not and what he cannot do well on a basketball court. Wall is not from Chicago. Wall is not from the projects. And he has never faced an impact player who forces him to guard every where, takes him inside, and works him over physically the way Sherron can and will. Wall will score points early trying to get Sherron in foul trouble, but it won't work, because the refs will be swallowing their whistles and Sherron has enough experience not to bite. Wall has never had to guard someone like Sherron. Sherron has had to guard Derek Rose, Augustin, Abrams, Curry at times, and many other less well known, but very good PGs, and he's held his own, or whipped all of them, except for Flynn at Syracuse last year, and Kalin Lucas. Wall is as fast as Flynn, not as strong, and not as good of trey shooter, and more wreckless with the ball. Lucas was experienced and strong. Wall's speed would be a huge problem for Sherron, as was Flynn's, if Wall could really drain the trey like Flynn, but he can't. Sherron will give Wall a few trey attempts to stop his penetration. Similarly,.Wall's height would be a real problem for Sherron, if Wall were strong like Lucas, but he's not. Wall will be tough early, until he is worn down physically and psychologically intimidated by Sherron, then he will be just another quick, skinny TO waiting to happen.

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jaybate 4 years, 7 months ago

Tyshawn and Bledsoe will be a wash, unless one or the other gets in foul trouble early. Bledsoe and Tyshawn are actually quite similar with Tyshawn being signficantly faster and quicker. Neither are deadly from trey and so you give them the trey and take away their drive. Tyshawn is easily good enough on defense to tighten down on Bledsoe, when he has the ball, and Tyshawn is now easily the better off-ball defender between he and Bledsoe. And contrary to what some say, Brady could easily stay with Bledsoe and out shoot him decisively from trey. Still, Tyshawn/Brady and Bledsoe are probably a wash.

Xavier vs. Dodson/Miller/Liggins: This is one of TWO key match ups and the place where KU is most vulnerable IMHO. Time and again Xavier has shown an inability to score against guys his own size either inside or outside. If UK can hold Xavier to 8-10 the hard way, it will be a wash until substitute time and then Brady has to come in after dogging Bledsoe and guard a fresh athletic guy with 3-4" on him. The three is actually where I try to beat KU, if I am Calipari, even though these are not my primary threats. I think KU has a weak link at the 3 vs. UC, unless Xavier discovers how to get to the rim by March.

Marcus/Kieff vs. Patterson: Tough assignment for Marcus, but he's already hung with Damion James, so containing Patterson is again feasible with Kieff's help. And given that UC plays weaker D than Texas, and likes more finesse, than muscle, I can see KU really trying to rough Patterson up big time with ten fouls.

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jaybate 4 years, 7 months ago

Cole vs. Cousins (aka the Pillsbury Wildcat): Here again, Cole has played quite a few fat, wide, doughy, 22 minute bigs like Cousins. He's played the Crisco Kid and Ice Cream Gallon in 2 of the last 5 games. He hand cuffed both of them and still roamed for many blocks and shot alterations. Though Cole looks gangly and less athletic than the fat, wide, doughy 22 minute guys, he stops most of game, but they only stop his scoring. Cole stays active with a capital A. Cole has tons of experience under his belt. Cole knows that when another big man makes you look bad, you just keep coming, you just keep fighting, you just keep making him work, you just keep double teaming him. Cousins has never had to play a mad stork center like Cole, nor a team defense with the kind of double teaming capability of KU. Though Cousins will likely outscore Cole slightly, when both are on the floor, the Pillsbury Wildcat cannot play 35 minutes, as Cole can. This means, Cole will have 13 minutes to roam and wreak havoc on defense, or alternatively, it means Kieff, or TRob will come in and chase more active back ups.

KU has only two risks in a game against the SEC's Texas--the University of Contucky:

1) KU having a bad trey shooting night; and

2) UC going tall and staying tall at the 2 and 3 positions.

KU has off trey nights and they make it very difficult for KU to get any separation against a good rebounding team that play good pressure defense as well as, say, Texas A&M, or butcher ball, like Texas, or Chigan State. UC has never played pressure defense, or butcher ball defense on those level in a game this season, so the likelihood of an off trey shooting game necessarily terminal is diminished. And pressure defense is not something Cal can teach them at the end of the season. It is a religious calling. One must live pressure defense,.as a season long Tao. Further, playing rough, with experienced guys, like KU has, is a recipe for losing. KU's bigs, under Danny Manning, are renaissance craftsmen, when it comes to invisible pay back that escalates the less experienced opponent into fouling and getting called for it. In fact, I would not be at all surprised to see UK's bigs, except for Patterson, not knowing whether to defecate or stand up by 12 minutes into the first half.

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jaybate 4 years, 7 months ago

But there is this nagging issue of Johnny the Squid being able to go waaaaay tall at the 2 and 3 spots and staying that way for an extended period. And KU does not have sufficient perimeter length to match up, much less substitute and stay long.

What about that?

There is actually a very easy solution to this and it is possible, because UC is not a good trey shooting team, and were it to go long at the 2 and 3, it would be an even worse trey shooting team.

The solution is called a zone--any zone.

Knowing Self, he will get all juiced by the challenge of a tall perimeter and insist on playing it m2m, also, just to see if the tall guys can handle the famous Self-taught up and under defense by short guards on tall guards, that Self appears to love as much as sex and double talking reporters who ask lame questions. But he is also quite willing to shift into zone when match-ups force it.

Conclusion:

Team beats individuals.

Pressure defense dampens offense and creates steals and TOs.

Maturity and experience wins the muscle and mental battles.

Excellent shooting separates from lesser shooting.

Rebounding is even until late, when the more experienced team takes over.

Sherron works over Wall like a man playing a boy.

The defense never rests.

KU by 15.

But I really don't think UC will make it past the 16.

They don't play pressure defense and they turn the ball over too much.

And the UC star--the Pillsbury Wildcat--only plays 22 mpg.

Rock Chalk!

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championhawks 4 years, 7 months ago

The silver unis were a tribute for the silver anniversary of the Jordan brand. Georgetown and Cal are also going to be wearing them... and I thought I read that Arizona would be too

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jaybate 4 years, 7 months ago

Alert: thread re-jack: :-)

I cannot help but look at Little and Releford and thing that if Self wanted to, at any moment, he could pull their red shirts and sharply alter the potential of the current team. It seems utterly improbable that he would pull their red shirts, but it is fascinating to think that if he got to a Final Four and looked over the opponents and said, "Wow, we need some more size and muscle at the three, he could have it." Now don't misunderstand. I want the team to play out its string without pulling the red shirts. I want Little to get his glory next season. And I want Travis to have his full alotment of years, because he's going to be a heck of a player, but... :-)

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dtownhawkfan 4 years, 7 months ago

OSU can be dangerous since they make so many 3s but if we guard them we will be fine. Our bigs should have a field day since they cant match our height and athleticism inside. Not only do we have to win to keep perfection attainable, but my girlfriend goes to OSU so I'll never hear the end of it lol

Rock Chalk!

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KGphoto 4 years, 7 months ago

Talked to Mario briefly after the CU game in Boulder. I told him I was glad he red-shirted because I wanted to see him for a whole season, and that I thought he was a dangerous scorer during the limited time I did see him play.

He said. In a nice way. "I'm a lot better now. Just wait til next year, just wait."

I can hardly.

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Joe Baker 4 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate- Icecream Gallon!!! Now that's good!

a Tiny Gallon of icecream, but a Gallon of icecream all the same!!

LOL

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Steve Brown 4 years, 7 months ago

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina wore silver uniforms Wednesday night against Florida State as part of the 25th anniversary of the Air Jordan franchise at Nike.

The Tar Heels are one of three programs that will wear the silver Jordan Brand uniforms this week. California is scheduled to wear them Thursday against Arizona, while Georgetown will wear them Saturday against Notre Dame.

Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press.

note: Mr. Mike did not show up for his Nike uniform tribute, neither did about 19,000 other fans and season ticket holders.

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jaybate 4 years, 7 months ago

Little + trey stroke = impact player.

Little without trey stroke = glue man only getting situational minutes at 3 and 4.

Little healthy and with a trey stroke would be better than X has been this year, because even with a broken leg Little could get to the rim better than X.

Little can jump and his strength and mental toughness, plus a trey, mean he will finish all over opponents when getting to the rim.

Little is the 2/3 player that Self has been looking for since Self got to KU. Xavier is a great scorer. But Little is the archetypal model of a Self impact player. Ferociously physical with solid basketball skills, length, strength, and tremendous mental toughness. He just needs a trey to complete the package.

Little with a trey means he will be able to get to the rim almost at will.

Little with good wheels will be a terrific defender, because he could at least stay on the floor for short periods with a broken leg.

Little is a better rebounder on a broken leg than any perimeter player we have this season.

I am very partial to Mario Little.

With a trey stroke. this guy has 3, or 2, with match-up advantage and impact written all over him.

Self says he will impact the program on the court, but needs to get his degree.

Inference: Self likes his defense, boarding, motor, and toughness, sees trey improvement, but still doesn't see a 40% trey.

40% trey shooting is increasingly the litmus test of perimeter impact players, and it is increasingly the litmus test for back-up glue on the wing.

You are absolutely right to focus on the trey, Mario. The trey is the ticket out of obscurity for you. Self is absolutely right to room you with Conner, so he can help you with shooting and you can help him with defense. Great fit. And the women probably love both of you.

Have your mail sent to the trey stripe, Mario. Study at the trey stripe. Buy a cot and sleep at the trey stripe in the off season. Wake up and shoot treys. Dream about shooting treys. Get a sports psychologist to hypnotize you about trey shooting. Paint a trey stripe on the floor around your bed in the Towers. Shave a trey stripe into your dome.

Mario, drive yourself to be a 40% trey shooter and you will be a rich man. You've got the rest of the tools in over supply.

But get that degree. Self is trying to convince you that you are smarter than you think. To be truly successful you have to believe in your own intelligence, and you need to run that motor for 30 minutes.

He believes in you might be able to do it. He's giving you the time and the chance, and reminding you to backstop with the books.

You can't ask for more other than continued health.

So: believe in yourself just as much as your Coach does.

Rock chalk!

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Joe Baker 4 years, 7 months ago

lighthawk- Wow! That note is harsh! UNC is in a crappy way right now.

Jordan fails to show. Season tick holders fail to show.

What's UNC b-ball coming to?

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bristowhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Looking forward to this game. I have tickets and this will be the first time to see the Hawks live. I predict that by 4:23 left in the first half it will be quieter than my living room watching the game. That is except for the Cowboy crying that will be going on.

RCJH

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tis4tim 4 years, 7 months ago

Jordan is busy trying to buy the Charlotte Bobcats right now. Word could even come down today about that. I'm guessing that is why he was absent.

As for Mario, I agree with (I think it was) BCRavenJayhawk's point about Mario's defense possibly being one of the reasons X went through a slump mid-season. I'm sure Mario put him through the paces every day in practice.

Mario is getting three years of learning, though he'll only play two, and he will benefit greatly from that just as our current team has done by playing with him and against him in practice. I can't wait to see him on the hardwood next year.

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dy2473 4 years, 7 months ago

Great article. I love hearing about guys who you don't hear about on a daily basis. He looks like a younger version of the State Farm guy. You know, Cerrano from Major League. Sounds like Mario is a great guy with a bright future. I'm hoping he continues to have good times at KU, gets his degree, and has a killer senior season next year. I think he'll be a key player for us next year.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate.....theoretically, HCBS could put Mario Little into the National Championship game and..poof...that would be the end of his college career.

Interesting choice, play a whole season the next year or come into the game and be named the MVP in winning a Championship!!

In reality, unless it was a dire emergency, I think bringing out a redshirt now would be an insult to the guys that got you where you are now. It might even have a net negative effect that might overshadow the positive.

BULLETIN: Missouri just lost Stafford for the season. That's a big hit for them because he was one of their big guys and was playing pretty well!

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okiedave 4 years, 7 months ago

Lighthawk, thanks for the info. Pretty poor advertizing for Air Jordan.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 6 months ago

slyr pls don't tease did HB sign or give verbal...my heart is racing

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Steve Brown 4 years, 6 months ago

web research indicates HB is signed and gone, sad for him. yet that shelby kid, oh my!!

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Ron Prichard 4 years, 6 months ago

  1. Any thought that Self would pull the redshirt from either Mario or Releford this year is ridiculous. Interesting to imagine, but under 1,000 different scenarios it would never happen. Conner Teahan would start before the redshirts would be pulled.

  2. Go to ESPN360.com and check out the replay of the UNC game. The announced attendance was 15,779. The actual attendance looks about like 8,000 - 9,000. There is no one in the stands. You can actually hear individual people clapping. It sounds like a high school game. Even the courtside seats were half empty. Ol Roy has some serious issues there. I know injuries have hurt them but they better have more than just Barnes coming in next year or they could be looking at another down year.

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jaybate 4 years, 6 months ago

Dear Bernie, Lew and Bill,

KU could be America's team in basketball, if it were marketed appropriately in a proper conference.

It now owns the central time zone for television. Texas can't live up to expectations. KU can. No one else in the central time zone matters.

We can stand pat, or let the easterners peck us to death.

Get behind expanding the Big 12 to the Big 30 ASAP.

Merge with the Atlantic 10, or ACC, plus the Pac 10.

I've mentioned this once before.

If the Big 30 allows KU to be scheduled to play conference schools in the eastern time zone once a week, and vs. a school in the midwestern time zone once a week, then KU becomes the biggest draw in the country over time.

UCLA could benefit from the same dynamic.

Then KU could play UCLA regularly and spread both KU and UCLA across the continent, while the Big East is piddling along with a BoWash Corridor market only.

This needs to be done before the Big East merges with the Big Ten and Pac Ten.

Quick.

KU is America's team.

Its got a nice ring, doesn't it?

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tstanlick1909 4 years, 6 months ago

If KU had the nike jerseys that other top programs are rocking nowadays...

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jaybate 4 years, 6 months ago

jaybate News Service (jns):

Dateline: Atlanta, GA

Slug: CDC Alert: CDC contemplates announcing possible acute outbreak of "Memphuckytiasis" centered in Lexington, Kentucky.

jns stringers in Atlanta, basically two intravenous drug users from the Atlanta Underground that got lost and stumbled into an underground parking lot entrance leading to CDC headquarters, report that an Above Top Secret Fort Detrick research project code named "Project Code Name" may have released an experimental chem/bio warfare agent on a number of college campus as a first phase field test of ominous new virus. CDC researchers have been focusing almost exclusively, however, on the first known outbreak of the infectious agent a few years back in Memphis, TN, and more recently in Lexington, Kentucky. The virus, referred to by CDC as 1E&Uh/2E&Uh.WWW is also known by a nickname Memphuckytiasis in the sinister and little understood world of black basketball ops.

According to unreliable sources, Memphuckytiasis is reputedly a genetically modified version of a corruption virus thought long extinct called PointShaving.1940S.UK virus.

jns stringers report a rumor that two frustrated University of Kentucky alums working as CBW researchers at Ft. Detrick may have originally re-engineered Memphuckytiasis in their spare times in an deluded attempt to resuscitate a UK basketball program then mired in mediocrity. The virus spreads through fecal-oral contact and infected persons develop an uncontrollable willingness to permit their programs to be lead down dark paths. stringers indicate the CDC investigators think Memphuckytiasis may not be self-limiting and so may require the epidemiological equivalent of an NCAA death penalty in order to head off a potential pandemic of programs being lead down dark paths. stringers also indicate the CDC researchers suspect that Memphuckytiasis has already been weaponized by rogue elements without the black basketball ops world and may well have already been released among fans of various college basketball and football programs, and at least one theater arts program. Developing...

(Note: All Fiction, no malice.)

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David Lara 4 years, 6 months ago

Jaybate: Scratched my head quite a few times before you explained who the hell UC was!!! Thought you were having a senior moment there.

Barring some huge shakeup in power rankings between now and selection sunday, "Contucky" won't get their proverbial a$$es handed to them by the hawks until the championship game with how the regions matchup. RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU THINK THAT GROUP IS WINNING 5 GAMES IN LATE MARCH.... Yeah, i don't think so either.

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MinnesotaJay 4 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the piece.

I really like the way Mario moves on the court. He exudes self-assurance. He looked good in streaks last year. If he improves significantly, he'll be a force.

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KEITHMILES05 4 years, 6 months ago

The thought of Barnes switching is plain, outright stupid. Where some of you come up with such nonsense is beyond me.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 6 months ago

Keith there is a diff between stupid and fantasy. The idea wasn't really about he could switch it is more about with what we know now, he would want to.

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jaybate 4 years, 6 months ago

wiseapple,

Have you ever heard the joke about some guys looking like they were born into middle age; that they never looked like teenagers?

In fact, I was born into old age. My early on-set dementia began when the doctor spanked me and I cried, "Do that again and I will kill you, Dr., uh,what was your name again?". :-)

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

Jaybate, my friend...I am convinced we were good friends in a previous life. I have exactly the same opinion as you've expressed regarding league expansion and inclusion.

I hope the other posters realize that what you are talking about is going to happen some day. In the not so distant future, there may only be half dozen "Super Leagues" and now is the time to start laying the groundwork

A combination of Pac 10, WAC, Big Twelve and Atlantic 10 would cover the country from sea to sea and set up a very powerful union.

Regarding UNC...the fans expected a reloading year similar to KU last year. What they got was a disaster of major proportions. Luckily for Roy, he has two NC's under his belt or he would be out on his A$$ after this season!!

What Harrison Barnes is walking into is that he is now expected to be the SAVIOR. God, just put a little pressure on this kid, huh UNC fans??!!

Regarding the comment "Carolina wanted me more" may be translated that HCBS saw what he was going to have and decided he wanted a point guard more.

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BrockIII 4 years, 6 months ago

I'll be shocked if Little plays any more than garbage time at the 3 next year.

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FairgroveJayhawk 4 years, 6 months ago

BrockIII - I hope you are suficiently shocked at Little's contributions next year. I hope for great things for this guy that put the team first two years in a row.

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Steve Brown 4 years, 6 months ago

slyr maybe some of them have tar heel google alerts if so, here goes:

University of North Carolina College Basketball releases statement that after reaching 2,000 wins sometime early in the 2010-2011 season they will shut down the damged tar heel program for much needed repairs.

that should get a couple...

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jaybate 4 years, 6 months ago

OakvilleJHawk,

Agreed that vishnu has intervened as some point via reincarnation on the Great Mandalla.

And regarding the shared appreciation for the Super Conference concept, well, its just so nice to read you agree, rather than read bhann wants effectively to kill me.

Being murdered for disagreement over appropriate posting length would be such a dampener on a nice day. :-)

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jaybate 4 years, 6 months ago

There is no truth to the rumor that Roy is jumping to University of Contucky, after Cal leaves.

But Dean Smith is in serious negotiations! :-)

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