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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

KU's Mario Little suspended from team after arrest

BY J. BRADY MCCOLLOUGH
The Wichita Eagle

LAWRENCE — Kansas senior forward Mario Little redshirted last season so that he could make an impact on this year's KU basketball team. The most important chunk of the schedule still remains, but after being arrested early Thursday morning and then suspended indefinitely by KU coach Bill Self, it's unclear whether Little will see the floor again for the Jayhawks.

Little, who in police reports is accused of pushing a woman into a sink, was booked at the Douglas County Jail on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, criminal damage to property and battery. He was released after posting $700 bond.

Self said Little will not practice with the team in the "immediate future." And, asked whether Little's KU career could be over, Self said it depends on the details that come out as he gathers facts about the incident.

"Mario's a nice young man," Self said. "He's a good young man. It obviously got away from him last night. It's very disappointing to me because it's something we stress quite hard and frequently here. He put himself in a bad position and exercised very poor judgment.

"That doesn't take away from the fact that he's still on our team. And he will be on our team unless there's information that comes forward that tells us he should not be. He will be disciplined in a very severe way."

According to a report from Lawrence Police Sgt. Matt Sarna:

* Little went into a residence in the 1200 block of Ohio Street early Thursday morning to see his girlfriend, a 22-year-old Lawrence resident who was a manager for the KU basketball team. Little got into an altercation there with a 19- year-old male, a member of the KU baseball team. The girlfriend then ran to a friend's apartment on the same block, where a gathering was taking place.

* Little followed the girlfriend and entered the apartment, where he allegedly pushed another 22-year-old woman in an attempt to find his girlfriend. After finding her in an upstairs bedroom, Little allegedly battered her and pushed her into a sink.

* Another man, a 24-year-old male Lawrence resident, tried to break up Little and his girlfriend and was shoved into a desk by Little. Several persons subdued Little until police arrived at about 2:45 a.m. and arrested him.

Sarna's report also said a 22-year-old male, also a member of the KU baseball team, interfered with officers while they were investigating.

Self said Thursday that he would not characterize the woman as Little's girlfriend. Self also said she was a basketball manager as of a few weeks ago.

"She has a lot of stuff going on. This is a busy time of year. We anticipate her coming back and working with the athletic department at some point in time," Self said. "She has worked with us, done a good job, is a nice young lady.

Little responded to the allegations against him in a statement.

"I apologize for what happened last night," Little said. "I feel awful, and I understand that I will have to deal with the consequences of my actions. I accept responsibility for those actions, and I apologize to my teammates for being irresponsible."

Little's teammates were busy practicing on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Saturday's game against Southern California at Allen Fieldhouse. The No. 3 Jayhawks were supposed to become full strength against the Trojans with the highly-anticipated debut of formerly suspended freshman guard Josh Selby, but now the Jayhawks will have to play without Little, who was averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in 16.3 minutes.

Little, a Chicago native, transferred to KU in 2008 from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College. Despite a 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame, Little has been playing inside as a smaller No. 4 man.

Self said Little's absence will open up more minutes for sophomore guard Travis Releford, if KU wants to play a small lineup, or sophomore center Jeff Withey, if KU wants a bigger lineup.

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