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LJWorld.com weblogs The Sideline Report

The Sideline Report with Mario Little

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Dayton coach Brian Gregory said he expected Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins to have good games against his team.

He wasn't expecting, however, a strong performance from Mario Little.

"I thought a big point in the game was Mario Little hit five straight points," Gregory said after his team's 60-43 loss to KU. "... Five, six points from a couple of those guys are big points, are crucial. And they become even bigger when you think about how well Collins played and how well Aldrich played."

A little help from the other guys goes a long way towards helping out KU's big two.

Little stepped up on Sunday. The Jayhawks will need a few more scorers to emerge against Michigan State if they hope to earn a spot in the Elite Eight.

Let's get to the (extended) Sideline Report with Mario Little.

The Sideline Report with Mario Little

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Jesse Newell: How many Michael Jordan posters do you have?

Mario Little: I don’t know. I’ve got a lot. I’ve only got maybe four or five left up in my room.

JN: Are they hanging on your walls then?

ML: There’s some in the drawer. I never put them up when I got here. I only put up, like, four.

JN: Were those hanging up when you grew up, then?

ML: Yeah. I’ve got posters from a long time ago that I still keep.

JN: What’s your favorite one?

ML: I don’t know. I used to have one with him stretching before the dunk contest, but I lost it. I don’t know where it is. Probably one of my boxes at my house. It’d probably be that one, or I had a rookie poster of him shooting.

JN: How many total have you had in your lifetime then?

ML: I don’t know. I remember one time I had 23 exactly hanging up, like, purposely. But I’ve got more than that. I’ve probably got, like, 23 in my room.

JN: So with those in your room you thought, ‘Some day, I want to be like that’?

ML: I was just always fascinated by him.

JN: Why’s that?

ML: Growing up and just watching him play and people’s reaction to him. My family, I remember one time I was outside playing with my cousins and I hear all these people upstairs of my grandmother’s building just hollering and throwing chairs and making all this noise. I ran up there thinking somebody’s fighting, and they were all going crazy because Reggie Miller pushed Michael Jordan and hit a three. (laughs) They were, like, really upset. It’s just probably me growing up in Chicago and just being around it and watching him.

JN: He was loved a different way in Chicago, wasn’t he?

ML: Oh yeah. Much, much. You can’t say nothing bad about Michael Jordan in Chicago.

JN: What if you did? What would happen?

ML: You’re going to have the worst reaction ever.

JN: What’s the best food at Buffalo Wild Wings?

ML: The wings, I guess. I like the garlic something the spicy garlic, Not the spicy garlic, parmesan something.

JN: How many wings can you eat in one sitting?

ML: I don’t know. I eat a lot. But I kind of stopped eating so much because it’s not good for me to eat like that. But I can eat a lot.

JN: If you pushed yourself, could you eat 30?

ML: Yeah.

JN: How about 40?

ML: I don’t know. Maybe. It all depends.

JN: In the offseason, right?

ML: No, no. Not this offseason.

JN: Who’s the funniest guy on the team?

ML: Q (Quintrell).

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JN: Why’s he funny?

ML: The things he says are so funny to me.

JN: You have an example?

ML: The way he speaks. (laughs, turns to Quintrell, who’s sitting next to him) What do you say? Like, instead of saying, ‘You hear me talking’ you say, ‘You hear me speaking’? He likes to switch it up, he says.

JN: He says ‘speaking’ instead of ‘talking’?

ML: Yeah, he switches words up. He thinks he’s on a different level with his vocabulary.

JN: So he’s talking over you guys? He’s talking like a professor?

ML: Sometimes professor. Sometimes he thinks it’s cool instead of saying ‘cousin’ he says ‘buzzin’,’ which I don’t get. (laughs)

JN: Who’s the happiest guy on the team?

ML: Everybody’s pretty happy. Maybe Trav or Cole, or Jordan, because he goes through a lot. He’s always smiling. I don’t know why.

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JN: What does Jordan go through?

ML: Just typical walk-on stuff.

JN: Give me an example.

ML: People just mess with him, give him crap all the time. He’s always happy.

JN: Who’s the quietest?

ML: Q? Oh, Tyrone. My bad. Tyrone is the quietest person ever.

JN: He just doesn’t say anything?

ML: He talks, but it’s low. If he says anything, it’s low.

JN: Favorite fast food?

ML: I guess McDonald’s maybe.

JN: What’s good at McDonald’s?

ML: I used to eat a lot of hamburgers. I just like the Big Mac. Or double quarter-pounders.

JN: You like the special sauce in Big Macs, then?

ML: Yeah. No onions.

JN: Give you bad breath?

ML: No, I just don’t like them.

JN: Is coach tougher on you than some other guys?

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ML: I think everybody gets their share. I can’t say he’s tough on me, because a lot of times he’s praising me and getting on the twins or getting on Tyshawn. Then all of a sudden, one day it’s me. Then one day it’s Tyshawn. It’s probably Tyshawn in those days a lot.

JN: Does Tyshawn run a lot in practice?

ML: No. (Coach) usually tries to make everybody run together, not just one person, unless you’re, like, really messing up.

JN: Describe the neighborhood you grew up in in Chicago.

ML: Growing up, it was fine. You really didn’t have to worry about anything. You’d always go outside and play with your friends. There was bad things going around, but literally, you don’t really pay attention to that until you’re older and people start looking at you differently. It was cool. I liked where I grew up.

JN: What was some of the worst things you saw growing up?

ML: I saw a lot of bad things. I don’t know. I saw a lot of good things. I can tell you some good things that happened to me.

JN: What’s a good thing?

ML: Maybe our block parties. That’s something I always remember. That was good. No matter what was going on in the streets, with the block party, everybody came out and just had fun, really.

JN: When I think of Chicago, inner-city, I think of a concrete court and chain nets. Did you play at someplace like that?

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ML: I think it is chain nets around Chicago somewhere, but I’ve never played on a chain net in my life. I always played on concrete. I wish I hadn’t, because my body wouldn’t be hurting so much now. Going up to the parks, that’s another thing I should have mentioned. Going up to the parks is probably the best feeling ever. Because I was younger, playing with all the old guys. They were on a different level. I always tried, at first — maybe when I was around sixth grade — I would always play on the little courts with the little kids. I got to, like, eighth grade and going into ninth grade played with the older guys on the bigger court where everybody’s at and watching you. It was almost something like this. On my way up to the park, I just had adrenaline. I would start walking, then all of a sudden, I would start running, trying to hurry up and get up there, because I could see the court from my house through this field. I would always just, like, run almost full speed trying to get up there.

JN: Describe the atmosphere to me, because obviously, it’s something many of us haven’t seen. How many people were watching this? What goes on?

ML: There’s a lot going on. You had little kids running around, maybe a barbecue. You’ve got maybe 50 people or more surrounding the court, waiting to get on or watching. I remember one time R. Kelly came up there just watching us. Then all of a sudden, it went from, like, 50 to 200 people up there then. So the park was always exciting. I don’t really go up there right now. I haven’t been up there in like two, three years.

JN: Did you play in front of R. Kelly then?

ML: Yeah I played a little bit. But as soon as I started playing, he left, because all these girls were coming up there. (laughs) Everything. A lot of people started coming up there. He had his bodyguards. It was probably safer to get out of there, get away.

JN: Did you do anything when you were younger that you regret now?

ML: Maybe not paying attention in class, taking that for a joke. Maybe I could have been at Kansas for four years instead of two. My elementary school I was always just a bad person. Not a bad person, but I did so many bad things.

JN: What’s an example?

ML: I remember when I was in second grade, and I had, like, 50 discipline notes, and the school year wasn’t even over. I was always getting written up for things and stayed in the principal’s office.

JN: What was the reason for that?

ML: I don’t know. I just did things. I don’t even have an explanation for it.

JN: So one of your biggest regrets is you couldn’t go to a place like KU for four years?

ML: No disrespect to Chipola Junior College, but it’s just different here. It’s a different environment. I’d just rather have had the opportunity to do four years at a university.

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