2009 KU-Michigan State
Little still undecided
Mario Little, who must decide by Tuesday night whether to apply for a medical red-shirt this season, hoped to test his left leg Saturday at Michigan State.
“I really didn’t get to do anything,” said Little, who because of foul problems had a short, seven-minute stint in the Jayhawks’ 75-62 loss.
“I’m not even hurting right now. I was. I mean, I had been,” he added of some problems with the stress fracture in his lower-left leg after the Tennessee game eight days ago.
“Defensively I can move better than I thought I could. It’s something I really have to do a lot of thinking,” Little added.
He already has discussed pros and cons of red-shirting with several individuals.
“A lot of people are telling me this, telling me that,” he said. “I want to come back strong next year and help the team. I also want to help right now. Sherron (Collins) needs some help out there.”
KU coach Bill Self isn’t ready to make the final call.
“I was hoping I could watch Mario play today. He played seven minutes. I thought he moved OK, but I thought he was very ineffective based on not ever getting in the flow,” Self said of Little, who had three rebounds and no points. “I don’t think today really told me anything concerning his future status applying for a medical hardship or playing on.”
Little’s braintrust back home in Chicago — led by uncle O’Keefe — said there’s a “strong possibility” Mario will red-shirt so he can play two healthy years at KU.
“No sense going 45 to 50 percent,” O’Keefe Little said. “I don’t like what I saw the last two or three games. He has a swagger (normally). He doesn’t have the swagger. He has pain in the leg. He’s trying to shoot with the glove (on left hand to protect broken bone). I want him to be fully informed, but the decision is his and his alone.”
O’Keefe Little and two of Mario’s cousins braved snowy weather to attend Saturday’s game. The three-hour drive from Chicago took five hours.
“After a couple of figure eights (on snow packed highways), we made it here,” O’Keefe said.
Mario’s grandmother, Hazel, could not attend. She is in a Chicago hospital with a case of internal bleeding.
“She has taken a turn for the worse. They gave her seven pints of blood,” O’Keefe said. “We need to get back and see how she is doing.”
Referee Steve Welmer was injured in the first half. He hobbled out of the arena with a boot on his foot.
This ’n’ that
Collins and Cole Aldrich scored 63 percent of KU’s points. ... MSU has won nine games in a row, 27 straight at Breslin. MSU has won 39 straight against nonconference foes. ... The series between KU and MSU is tied at 4. ... Aldrich had his third straight double-double and ninth overall this season. Aldrich also shot 75 percent (6-for-8) from the free-throw line and blocked three shots. Aldrich has recorded multiple blocks 12 times this year. ... Kansas trailed, 37-18 (19 points), at halftime. It marked the Jayhawks’ largest halftime deficit since Feb. 23, 2003, when KU trailed, 47-26 (21 points), at Oklahoma. ... Kansas’ 18 points in the first half were KU’s fewest points in a half since Feb. 28, 1999, when KU also scored 18 points in the second half at Iowa State.