OTC: Mario Little Returns In Selfish Move


“I tried to look at it as if he was my own child and also let the legal system play out.”
Bill Self, on his decision to reinstate Mario Little onto the Kansas basketball team, Kansas City Star
GH: At a minimum, Little was guilty of forcing his way into a residence and physically engaging with two females and one male. He was the only person arrested for this incident. Little is not a “child” as Self describes. He is a fifth-year senior who tracked down a woman at 2:00 AM and assaulted her and her friends. I would find it difficult to cheer for Mario if I were inside Allen Fieldhouse this season. KU fans have far more in common with his victims than with Mario. They too are just average Janes and Joes who do not have KU’s powerful athletic department and fan base defending their criminal acts.
"It’s not as though Lawrence (Phillips) is an angry young man all the time and a threat to society. I don’t believe that. But there are occasions every four to five months when he becomes a little explosive.”
Tom Osborne, in 1995 when he defended his star Nebraska running back after he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend at her residence, Lincoln Star Journal
GH: Osborne reinstated Phillips to the Huskers’ eventual national championship team that season. At the time, I got into heated debates with friends and family from Nebraska about Phillips. I wanted him gone and they defended Osborne’s attempt to “save” Phillips. We all know what happened. Osborne traded the proud tradition that was Nebraska football for Lawrence Phillips’ gangsta ways. Phillips now sits in prison and NU football is just another often-dirty program in the midst of many. At the time, Nebraska football was looked upon as enviously as Kansas basketball is today. Has Bill Self invited the same karma into the Jayhawks’ house in his attempt to save Little at the expense of KU’s reputation? In my opinion Self made the wrong choice, just as Osborne did in 1995.
“I kiddingly told some friends last week that college basketball can just shut down and get ready for a Kansas/Duke final. Now, it’s not going to be that easy but I like where this is headed.”
John Dooolittle, after Selby’s debut against USC, 610 AM
GH: After a great first two games, Selby has descended into a sophomore slump. Sure, he’s only a freshman but you have to accelerate the four-year process for these one-and-done studs. Let’s hope his junior year starts up quickly with Big 12 play. The trip to Iowa State tonight would be a good time for Selby to hit the microwave button.
“It’s not an intimidating place to play. It’s an exciting place.”
Doug Gottlieb, on KU’s Allen Fieldhouse, 810 AM
GH: KU is often tested inside Allen Fieldhouse but they have proven more difficult to beat there than the flu. I have to differ with Gottlieb on this one. I think that place can be damn intimidating to the opposition.
“How good is Big 12 basketball? With Josh Selby, Kansas was just good enough to beat USC at home. K-State lost to Florida, which already had lost to Central Florida. It’s a good league, but doesn’t look great.”
Tom Shatel, Omaha World Herald
GH: With ranked K-State and Mizzou getting upset in the first week of conference play and Kansas getting pushed into overtime at Michigan, the Big 12 looks to be more vulnerable than maybe ever. Read on.
“I think (Big 12 basketball) is kind of a disappointing league. Not at the top, but in the middle with Oklahoma State, Colorado and Texas. I think they’ll be real competitive at the top but I’m a little disappointed with the teams from 5 all the way to 12.”
Jason King, of YahooSports.com
GH: It seems we have this discussion every December – just how good is Big 12 hoops? Are they Big East good? Big 10 good? Or a notch down the ladder from the elite basketball conferences? January is here and I think we’ll get some answers. But March is when we really get to compare who has what.
“I am bored to tears with the routine nature of Kansas basketball. … It ends the same way every year.”
Kevin Kietzman, on Kansas being the favorite to win their seventh consecutive Big 12 conference title, 810 AM
GH: Frank Martin and his Cats were supposed to end Bill Self’s Hawks’ dominance this season. It could still happen but I’m not so sure K-State is the team Kansas needs to fear.
“I think Kansas State is a physically and mentally tough team but I don’t think they are overwhelmingly skilled. We were one of the few in the preseason to say we think Kansas has the better squad.”
Mike DeCourcy, college basketball writer for The Sporting News, 810 AM
GH: K-State looks like a wrestling team trying to play basketball. When Pullen struggles, they are an awful offensive team. What happened to the competitive, explosive and talented team we all cheered last March?
“I keep hearing Jacob Pullen had a bad game (against Duke). Here’s the thing, Jacob Pullen got taken out. Great defenders can do that. And the only way to get it back is to have somebody else take up the slack. And Kansas State’s not in a position to do that. I don’t think they have the weapons they need to have.”
Mike DeCourcy, 810 AM
“Probably. We return a pretty good front line and the best point guard in the country. If I had a vote I probably would have voted our team in the top five of the country.”
Frank Martin, responding to Nick Wright’s question on if he would have voted his team in the top five in the preseason poll if he had a vote, 610 AM
“You know, I don’t know anybody who’s worried about (K-State’s basketball team) because this is just the way it goes. It’s rocky early (in the season) and then they get better late.”
Kevin Kietzman, before the Wildcats lost to Florida, 810 AM
“We all love Frank Martin. He’s a great guy. But at some point in time you’ve got to get (your players) better. There are a lot of players on his team that are just the same guy. You’ve got to get better! His players are not getting better! This guy’s got talent but he’s got to be evaluated like everybody else.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Petro is saying the exact opposite of what Kietzman is selling. Petro loves Martin but wonders why his players don’t progress through the season or their careers at KSU. I’m not sure I understand Petro’s criticism or from where he draws his opinion. It’s my opinion that K-State’s team is loaded with players who have made significant progress under Martin.
“Frank Martin, I was watching him, and there are times when he treats the players like they are dirt!”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM
GH: Is Martin’s sideline-maniac act growing old with his players? His threatening glares, stares and dares coupled with his bombastic and acrid language doesn’t seem to be having near the effect on this year’s squad. It still makes me squirm to watch him go Pelini during almost every time out.
“Will (Spradling) does something a lot of kids don’t do these days. Will listens.”
Frank Martin, on his freshman point guard, 810 AM
GH: I have watched Martin scream some of his most offensive and detrimental vitriol at his freshman point guard. Why he would choose to treat a player who listens in such an immature manner is troubling. Martin needs to grow up a helluva lot more than his athletes.
“I’ve been trying to put my finger on the difference between Frank Martin and Bo Pelini. But if you listen to Frank Martin talk about life, you know he is an optimist by nature. … He is a man’s man.”
Kevin Kietzman, attempting to clarify the difference between the two volatile head coaches, 810 AM
GH: Kansas City knows Frank Martin. We hear him interviewed all the time on our local radio and TV stations. We have seen friendly TV features of him, one of him wearing an apron and cooking at home with his wife. We know almost nothing of Bo Pelini except his ridiculous in-game sideline antics and truncated sound bites. It would not be a stretch to think people in Nebraska think Frank Martin is just as crazy as Bo. They would be wrong. Pelini doesn’t deserve a pass for acting like an ass to his college athletes but Martin doesn’t either. Both coaches need to grow up and understand how they act is not only a reflection on them but their universities.
“I was mostly trying not to wet my pants.”
Austin Meeks, columnist for the Topeka Capital-Journal, when asked what he was thinking as he witnessed Frank Martin’s post-game press conference Tuesday night following K-State’s loss to UNLV, 810 AM
“He’s just like John Wooden but with a different demeanor.”
Stan Weber, explaining Frank Martin’s volatile and confrontational coaching style, 810 AM
GH: Stan makes some pretty out-there statements when he’s painting colorful pictures about his school, but this one might be so far out there it needs oxygen.
“He’s changed from being a stationary shooter to being a scorer.”
Jon Sundvold, on Mizzou’s breakout junior, Marcus Denmon, Metro Sports
GH: Denmon has matured from a nice little player into the team leader and a serious threat to be named All-Big 12. Much has been made of his family’s off-court issues with gangs and killings and funerals. Denmon needs to leave that trash behind as well. Growing up sometimes means leaving home for good.
“Other than Kansas, I don’t know.”
Kurtis Seaboldt, when asked by Soren what it is going to take to fill up Mizzou arena, 810 AM
GH: A reader told me that those empty courtside seats at Mizzou Arena are “Wal-Mart seats.” Whoever owns those empties needs to get with MU officials and work out a deal if they’re staying home. I know it will never happen because money rules all college sports decisions but I would love to see the students get those camera-ready seats ala Cameron Indoor Arena.
“For those who didn’t see my update earlier, Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel declined a chance to interview for Michigan head coaching job.”
Gabe DeArmond, Twitter
GH: I saw and heard a great deal of discussion about Gabe’s report that Pinkel passed on even speaking with Michigan. None of it hit on the reason I believe Pinkel is staying in Columbia. Read on.
“Gary Pinkel declining to talk to Michigan tells you two things. 1. How far Missouri has come. 2. How far Michigan has fallen.”
Mike DeArmond, Twitter
GH: There is little doubt those are both truths. But I don’t think they have much to do with Pinkel’s decision. Michigan football fans are rabid, arrogant, elitists. They feel it is their birthright to drill other schools on the football field. It is unthinkable to them that Michigan football is now ordinary. Yep, sounds a lot like those familiar folks up in Nebraska. Pinkel is in a situation at MU where he makes over $2 million a year and with a fan base that is just fine with never winning the conference or making a BCS bowl. That’s not a knock on Mizzou fans that is simply a reality. Why would Pinkel want to trade that kind of security for big-city media scrutiny and expectations congruent with his salary?
“In the fall of 1920 I coached the football team with not one penny of additional salary. In December 1919, I took over basketball with no increase of salary. In 1921 I started building the (KU football) stadium, and in 1923 I founded the Kansas Relays. My basketball teams have been fairly successful, yet when I was endeavoring to build up a football team — because the basketball team was winning — many of my pseudo-friends were declaring that I cared nothing for football. Well, after having done all those things I have arrived at an age that convinces me it wasn’t worth a candle and I wouldn’t take the job at twice the salary. You are dealing with an emotional, slap-happy, crackpot bunch of fanatics who know all about winning football games. So not for my peace of mind or any money that anyone might gather up in an endeavor to tempt me. It just wouldn’t work.”
Phog Allen, via Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star
GH: We football fans have not evolved much in the past 90 years, have we?
GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / Greghall24
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11 Responses to OTC: Mario Little Returns In Selfish Move

  1. Tim says:

    Self reinstates Little
    Theres a big shocker. Classy program!

  2. Gavin says:

    yep. I’m the KU homer
    OK, any parallel between Mario Little and Lawrence Phillips is going too far. As you say, Greg, you know what happened “at a minimum,” which is a coy way of saying you don’t know anything at all. The victims of Littles attack aren’t pressing charges and he has resolved the criminal case against him. Now, can you argue that Bill Self is treating this transgression too lightly? Yes. reasonable minds can differ on that and you can make a compelling argument that Little s getting off too easily. i don’t happen to agree with it, but I acknowledge that it’s a reasonable position to take.

    But comparing him to Lawrence Phillips is beyond ridiculous. What we know about Phillips, AT A MINIMUM, is that he, too sought out his girlfriend and then assaulted her, the assault more or less ending when he dragged her down the stairs by her hair. If memory serves (a faulty proposition as I get older), this wasn’t Phillips’ first transgression (and we know it wouldn’t be his last, for whatever that’s worth). Comparing the two is ridiculous, whether you think Little’s punishment was too severe, too light or right on the money.

    Also, mind your words, Greg. you speak fluent English. Self didn’t say that Little was “a child” he said he looked at it as if Little was “his child.” Wait until your kids are adults (or are they already) and tell me how often you refer to your grown kids as “my adult.” Self didn’t excuse Little for his actions because Little is a kid, he just explained that he tried to mete out Little punishment as if Self was his father. You’re too smart to be this disingenuous.

    As for the non-KU stuff, your question about K-State “what happened to the competitive, explosive and talented team we all cheered last March?” I think the answer is obvious. They list Denis Clement and they miss him more than they thought they would. When everyone was talking about how great K-State was going to be this year, I kept thinking that they’d miss Clemente, but I don’t think they’d miss him this much. Still, that guy was so fast that he just opened up a lot of opportunities they simply aren’t getting anymore.

    And, as to why Pinkel would subject himself to the rigors and expectations of coaching a team like Michigan when he can have a nice cushy, low-expectations gig at Mizzou, I’d think the answer is because he wants to be one of the best. Not to say that he can’t become the best at Mizzou (and I think they guy has proven to be a hell of a coach for Mizzou), but someone takes a job like USC or Alabama or Notre Dame because he has a huge ego and is driven to make everyone see how fantastic he is. I’m not knocking Pinkel when I say that maybe he just doesn’t have the ego that requires that kind of spotlight.

  3. dp says:

    Frank needs to coach more and posture less
    Petro- %u201CWe all love Frank Martin. He%u2019s a great guy. But at some point in time you%u2019ve got to get (your players) better. There are a lot of players on his team that are just the same guy. You%u2019ve got to get better! His players are not getting better! This guy%u2019s got talent but he%u2019s got to be evaluated like everybody else.%u201D

    DP- This sums up what I’ve said about Frank all year. He can recruit and he can motivate, but he hasn’t shown he can X and O. Look at Judge. He has more physical ability than any big guy in the conference and he hasn’t developed one reliable post move in the year and a half in the program. When they play teams that can match them physically and Pullen isn’t on fire, they panic offensively. Look at the Florida and Okie Lite games this year. Florida they shot like 19% and they led Okie Lite by 6 with 9 minutes to play and totally wet their pants down the stretch and couldn’t score. Frank needs to demonstrate he can coach offense and needs to instill some composure in himself and his team. Right now they are barely a tournament team. If they lose to CU tonight, it could be NIT time.

  4. rockchalkbobby says:

    Shocker….GH goes negative on KU
    GH…this is getting absurd. You haven’t said a positive thing re. KU in many, many moons. And your comparison to Mario Little is Lawrence Phillips? What, Charles Manson was busy? WTF? Yes Mario was WAY outta line. But, as Bill Self said, should this incident cost Mario his entire future? There doesn’t seem to be a track record of this behavior. If you have 3 beers and then drive 2 blocks home and get pulled over for a dui should you lose your license for the rest of your life? Should Pullen & Kelly go to prison for robbery? Geez, I might as well go back to listening to KK to get my fill of Jayhawk bashing .

  5. Cliffy says:

    The Phillips/Little crime comparison might be a bit over
    the top but I think a different comparison CAN be made — both apparently have walnut-sized brains. I won’t remember Mario Little for this assault case. I’ll remember him crying like a little girl and having to be dragged off the court after the Northern Iowa loss.

    Self’s only doing what 99.9% of all coaches would do in a similar circumstance. Thing is, just as Nebraska would have been fine without Phillips, I think KU would be fine without Little.

    I wouldn’t say the Mizzou fanbase is “just fine with never winning the conference or making a BCS bowl.” There are plenty who feel Pinkel has taken the program as far as he can. Me? It wasn’t that long ago when Missouri arguably was the worst football program in the country. I’m just fine with Pinkel staying as long as he likes.

  6. bschloz says:

    On To Hoops
    GH..nice work—- I guess Little is playing for one reason and thats because Self needs him to make a serious run. No Blood No Foul. I see Morningstars minutes being reduced to nil.
    Leauge looks tougher this year…NEB ISU CO TX all markedly better. KU MU are #1,#2 not necessarily in that order.
    Yes Denmon is a scary good baller its hard not to pull for him and Dixon KC’s Own.

    KSU– Gavin nailed it about Clemente …I really like Spradling and think he will be ALL Big 12 before he is finished….if they get it together with Kelly and Pullen they could be a factor but FREE THROW shooting will cost them big down the stretch with teams employing the old Hack-A Cat.

    this kid has game

  7. Rainbow Man says:

    Frank Martin is Like John Wooden?
    And Mike Sweeney reminds me of Babe Ruth. Elvis Grbac reminds me of Johnny Unitas. Jim Colbert reminds me of Bobby Jones. Weber just made a Hall of Fame delusional homer comment that absolutely cannot be topped. I am willing to consider it after Martin’s 5th or 6th National Championship.

  8. W Jones says:

    Comparing what Phillips did to what Little did is ridiculous. Phillips went into another man’s room (Scott Frost was her BF, not Phillips) and beat a woman severely enough to require surgery. Little pushed some people on the way to find a girl, but did not physically injure her. This is Madoff compared to Pullen/Kelly

  9. W Jones says:

    Comparing what Phillips did to what Little did is ridiculous. Phillips went into another man’s room (Scott Frost was her BF, not Phillips) and beat a woman severely enough to require surgery. Little pushed some people on the way to find a girl, but did not physically injure her. This is Madoff compared to Pullen/Kelly

  10. W Jones says:

    Comparing what Phillips did to what Little did is ridiculous. Phillips went into another man’s room (Scott Frost was her BF, not Phillips) and beat a woman severely enough to require surgery. Little pushed some people on the way to find a girl, but did not physically injure her. This is Madoff compared to Pullen/Kelly

  11. Tim says:

    Comparison is Phillips valid
    Just because the female dropped the charges does not mean the incident didn’t occur. KU has a way of making these things go away (ala Sherron “love in an elevator” collins). He abused a woman and will likely do it again.
    Your crimson tinted glasses prevent you seeing the whole picture. This would be like MU fans saying D. Washingtons incident is no big deal because noone got hurt and he said he is sorry. C’mon Kansas, you are better than this. Right?

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