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Mario Little: To Redshirt or Not to Redshirt?

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The current issue at hand revolves around one Jayhawk; Mario Little. Namely, whether to redshirt him or not. It's a simple question. Would you rather redshirt him, giving him another year of eligibility, but would make him unable to play the rest of the year? Or would you rather, instead, not redshirt him, letting him play out the rest of the year, albeit in an injured condition?

There are, naturally, pros and cons to both sides of the story. And so, here are all of the pros and cons I could come up with, in terms of him potentially redshirting. As in, the pros are essentially reasons for him to redshirt, with the cons serving as the argument for him not to redshirt:

Pros

  • Another year of elibility in 2010-2011
  • A healthy Mario Little, as opposed to the current version, which is at about 50%
  • An opportunity for further development, making him a potentially better player his senior year

Cons

  • Loss of a scholarship in the Class of 2010, which could, theoretically, be given to a more talented High Schooler
  • No more Mario Little this season; a season where we desperately need another solid, consistent contributor

With all of that, I've gotta say I'd prefer for him not to pick up a redshirt. I think the kid could be a really good player, sure, and it would be nice to get two complete, healthy years from his eligibility. But Self is already beginning the process to replinish this team, and Mario LIttle was never intended to do anything besides make the transition from one potential title contender to the next a little easier to swallow. And so, his potential value in the 2010-11 season isn't the issue here. There is a scholarship limit in college basketball, and I'd rather hold on to that scholarship than hope that Mario LIttle lives up to our hopes. Because, as unfair as it is to say, Mario Little hasn't shown us much so far this year. He is, naturally, generally lost on offense, as would be expected given such an extended absence. And he isn't doing much better on the defensive end. Honestly, the one skill he is performing well at is boxing out and picking up boards, which is quite valuable considering the Morris twins' lack of rebounding skills. Still, he has yet to show us anything that warrants essentially throwing away a scholarship for 2010.

Of course, one could argue that his ineffectiveness is due to injury. And, honestly, they are likely right. If he was healthy, he would be a much better player. I don't doubt that. But, and I suppose this is where the information I don't have my hands on plays a role, I think he is going to be healthy by the end of the season. In the next month-or-so, I'd imagine. I suppose, that is what all of this comes down to. If he isn't getting any better than this, then I guess redshirting him would be the better idea. But I still think we could be dangerous in the NCAA's, and if Mario Little can ever get healthy, he is going to be an absolutely crucial element of any success we will have. Given the way TyTay has played as of late, he could sneak into the starting lineup fairly easily, given his healthy of course, and would soon become one of our main options on offense. And we need that sort of presence, if it is only for a month, plenty more this year than we will need it in 2010. Maybe it's just a hunch, but I have an inkling we're going to be a better, more experienced team two years from now.

So, I am in favor of foregoing the redshirt and simply letting him get healthy. Now, if it is a near impossibility that he'll ever get healthy the rest of this year, then maybe it would be better to just redshirt him. But, assuming that he continues to get healthy and he is around 100% by mid-to-late February, I say keep on letting him play. It comes down to two key issues for me, as I've said.

1) I don't want to use a scholarship for the Class of 2010 on a one year, JUCO transfer. Especially when we are Kansas, and we can get, well, not to insult Mario or anything, but better players. High school players with 4 years of elibility.

2) This team needs a helluva lot more help than the 2010-11 team will need. I guarantee it. So, even if it's only a month as opposed to a year, I'd rather him play this year instead of then.

But those are just my thoughts, my opinions. What do you think? Would you redshirt him, or let him play out the year?

ROCK CHALK!