Monday, August 25, 2014

More on ‘Svi’: Bill Self discusses Ukraine freshman at Monday’s Boy Scout golf tourney

KU coach says Mykhailiuk may do some online coursework while at World Cup


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self had some additional comments about incoming freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk at Monday’s Boy Scouts benefit golf tournament at Lawrence Country Club.

Mykhailiuk, it was reported Sunday, will play for Ukraine in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, set for Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. This will delay his arrival to KU until after Ukraine is eliminated in the tourney. Self figures if Ukraine doesn’t make the medal round, Mykhailiuk could be here between Sept. 8-10.

“We’ll enroll him, obviously,” Self said, explaining the academic part of missing the first few weeks of the school year. “And then we’ll talk to his professors to make sure that there’s a way to do some things. We may even have him do some things potentially online that could get (him) caught up. He’s a really really bright kid. I mean really really bright, considering his English is good. But it’s not exceptional yet. He’s in that Sasha Kaun-type category, so I would still predict he’d be a 3.5 student at the end of the semester.”

Self said he’d be missing individual workouts and lifting the next couple weeks at KU.

“I’m more concerned about him strength wise. He wasn’t here with Andrea (Hudy, strength coach) all summer and of course he needs it. He weighs 193 pounds, still yet he’s not strong,” Self said of the 6-foot-8 wing. “You don’t get strong overnight. It takes time. He’ll be a little behind in that area. But we’ve sent him programs. He knows what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s responsible, so he’s probably doing it. He’ll be behind from a basketball standpoint. But the kid is so bright. I can’t believe he can’t get caught up faster than most.”

Self said he’s pleased Mykhailiuk, 17, made his country’s national team.

“I talked to Mike Fratello (Ukraine coach) before the event and he told me what his plans were, to play with the junior team (Under 18 Div. B European championships in July) and let him practice with the national team. He said, ‘I really doubt he will make the team. He’s going against men. Let him hang out over here. He’ll get some good training,’’’ Self said.

“They trained him well enough he made the team. I’m happy for him. I’m a little concerned he’s going to come in well behind, which he will. Without putting too much pressure on him I was hoping he would be really ready to be a major contributor mid November. It may take a little bit more time. But overall it’s a great experience for him. Certainly we’re happy for him.”


Steve Jacob 7 years, 5 months ago

I keep saying he reminds me like of Nik Stauskas. Showed up at Michigan as a skinny 6'6" shooter his freshman year, worked out all off season, and became an all around athlete by the end of his sophomore season.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

I keep saying this reminds me of the Toni Kukoč / Jerry Krause melodrama. The special treatment Krause extended to Kukoč resulted in animosity between him and Jordan/Pippen/Rodman. Kukoč earned extra ire by being a poor defensive player, which I suspect Mykhailiuk will be. It will be really hard for him to form bonds with the likes of Traylor/Alexander/Oubre. A guy like Selden, who is the team leader, will need to step up to integrate him into the team, if he expects to get PT.

Unfortunately, I suspect Oubre will feast on him and Frankamp will pick up where he left off with Stanford resulting in Mykhailiuk being buried on the bench, isolated from that team core.

John Randall 7 years, 5 months ago

What could the kid do differently? We are talking about HIS National Team! I know all the smarts in the world won't make up for the time we (and he) wish he'd been here all summer and Sept, but I think teammates will all be on board with getting him ready for next year, if not later on this season. If it turns we need him (injuries to rotation players, or whatever), everyone will be challenged to bring him into the fold as quickly as possible – certainly not my idea of a desirable situation. Andrew Wiggins was faced with the same dilemma last year and took the different approach. With Svi Mykhailuk we'll see how much four months delay affects his assimilation into Self Ball and Team Chemistry.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to sign with an EU pro team.

Brianna Zaleski 7 years, 5 months ago

Suzi, on the bright side, the sun came up today, and we're not all dead from a nuclear holocaust... Jeez.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

Not at all being dim or negative. I expect us to have a great year with Selden, Ellis, KO and Alexander earning very good draft positions.

Ellis will have a great year unveiling a regular 3 ball (3-4 per game) and defensive skills.

Ken Tschetter 7 years, 5 months ago

As long as he is here in time for boot camp, there won't be any problems bonding with the other players, etc.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 5 months ago

Ken, I agree about the bonding that happens during boot camp. When a team is forced to suffer together as a unit, it can forge a much stronger bond between the entire team unit than just playing/hanging out in the summer. Team chemistry (good or bad) is developed during organized team activities and not individual workouts or pickup games. When Svi arrives for boot camp then the team's experienced leaders, Ellis, Selden, Traylor, will attempt to assimilate him into the team dynamic and make sure that all of the newcomers are on the same page for the betterment of the team rather than personal competitions.

Self seems confident in Svi's work ethic and team attitude, and that confidence is backed up by the fact that he made the National team and played as a role player for the professional club last year. I wouldn't expect chemistry to be much of an issue, because it's questionable right now that he'll really be ready to compete for minutes with Oubre or possibly even with Greene. That said, he's used to playing at least small rotational minutes. Hopefully Self can keep him focused and encouraged even if he struggles to get into the rotation for much of the season, as it could be tough on everyone if he labors to adjust to his new environment and his new role.

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