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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Svi for 3: KU junior filling key role for Jayhawks’ offense

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) floats around Stanford forward Michael Humphrey (10) for a bucket during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) floats around Stanford forward Michael Humphrey (10) for a bucket during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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The Kansas men’s basketball team is on a tear from three-point range so far this season, and few players have been as dialed in from deep as junior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.

In the last three games alone — including Saturday’s 89-74 victory over Stanford — the Ukrainian Jayhawk has knocked in more than half of three-point attempts and is now shooting .450 from long distance through the first eight games of the 2016-17 season.

A career .361 shooter from deep, this was supposed to be the season that Mykhailiuk showed he was capable of doing more. Partly because of opportunity and partly because of his suddenly solid experience level, Mykhailiuk’s summer playing back home with the Ukrainian national team both put the ball back in his hands and made him comfortable making plays again.

However, being back in the States and sharing backcourt minutes with three of the best play makers in college basketball — Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham and Josh Jackson — has kept Mykhailiuk floating on the perimeter, firing open three after open three toward the rim.

So, even with his hot hand through eight games, do Mykhailiuk’s teammates want to see more from the athletic wing?

“Nah. I think he’s playing exactly how he needs to be playing,” said KU junior Devonte’ Graham, the only player on KU’s roster with more three-point makes (19-18) than Mykhailiuk thus far. “Shoot when he’s open, staying in attack mode, running the floor and running the court and defending.”

So adamant was Graham about Mykhailiuk playing his role to perfection that he went on to emphasize how important it is for his running mate to shoot when the ball comes his way.

“I always stay on him about shooting the ball,” Graham said.

Luckily for Graham and the rest of the Jayhawks, pulling the trigger has not been much of a problem for Mykhailiuk so far this season. Yes, his confidence has something to do with it. But there’s a much bigger, much more obvious, factor in play, as well.

“Frank, Devonte’ and Josh drive the ball and I’m just getting more looks,” Mykhailiuk said. “It’s easier to make if no one is guarding you.”

And while the ability of his teammates to create shots for him off the bounce has helped Mykhailiuk find his groove early on this season, the exchange has been mutually beneficial for both parties.

See, if Mykhailiuk were gun shy out there and did not let it fly when he had open looks, opposing defenses would have more time to recover and, therefore, would stand a better chance of keeping Graham, Jackson and Mason from scoring in the paint. But Mykhailiuk’s willingness to fire away — make or miss — keeps the floor spread and allows KU’s three-headed monster more room to maneuver.

“It’s being in attack mode all the time,” Graham explained. “Coach is always on us about making plays and staying in the lane.”

Speaking of coach, what has KU's top dog thought of the recent play of his 6-foot-8 wing with the name that’s tough to pronounce?

“I think Svi’s played very well on the offensive end,” Self said. “He was good (vs. Stanford) and he moves the ball. It is an advantage to be able to have five guards out there that are all very capable of making plays and making shots.”

Comments

Kent Richardson 4 years, 10 months ago

Svi is playing much more confident and comfortable on defense too. I would say he has made the correct choice on offense 9 out of 10 times while displaying patience and team concept understanding.

Along with Vick he is our most improved player and they are the separating factor in our games so far. Which in this "son of slow development" from our big guys season should make us grateful.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 10 months ago

This is a very balance team and we have done it without a strong inside presence .I will give Lucas the benefit of the doubt because he has be playing with an injury or 2 .....Bragg is starting to be more aggressive ,Coleby and Azubuike will continue to get better.but with Svi and the rest of the cast hitting their outside shots it can only open up the inside game.

Off topic just a bit ......Here is an update on last years Jayhawks

WAYNE SELDON plays for Memphis D-league team has played in every game this season He stats thus far this season 19.4 ppg 6.3 rpg Wayne seems to have gotten his confidence back and hopefully he can get a look in the NBA if he continues to play well. Wayne season high was a 30 point game in a loss .

PERRY ELLIS plays for the Charlotte Hornet D-league team Perry is getting the minutes now... unlike when he was on the Dallas Mavericks summer league roster when he hardly played . His stats thus far 7.1 ppg 4.3 rpg Perry did have a 20 point 12 rebound game

BRANNEN GREENE plays for Philadelphia D-league team .Greene still has not made an impact thus far his minutes not that great His stats thus far 5.3 ppg 2.7 rpg . Greene has not progressed .If he is playing poorly in the D-League the chance to be reunited with Embiid seems to be a long shot

Cheik Diallo Drafted and traded to New Orleans so far he has played in only 2 of the Pelicans first 20 games , 0, ppg 0 rpg I think he would be better served to play in the D-LEAGUE just to get game time but he has a rookie contract so he will get paid just to sit the bench ........not a bad gig if you can get it

Humpy Helsel 4 years, 10 months ago

I thought I read somewhere Diallo had been moved down to the D-League. Maybe I dreamed that. He needs to, to get experience. He needs to play basketball, not sit on the bench.

Edward Daub 4 years, 10 months ago

Humpy, you are correct , Sir. Diallo was sent down to the D-League Austin Spurs for a few games and played well there. The Pelicans then had him fly back to New Orleans and he is back "perched" on the end of the bench.

And meanwhile back at the Ranch, Cliff Alexander is playing for the D-League Erie Bayhawks! Erie PA that is, a true garden spot in Winter.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 10 months ago

Found it interesting that NBA teams allow their D league players to move back and forth between different franchises.

Diallo did get a three year contract worth nearly 2.5 million but the third year isn't guaranteed. Didn't find how his salary was broken down but I'm sure he pocketed 700 K at least for his rookie season.

I would really like to see Diallo put his game together. The potential is certainly there.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 10 months ago

And has since been sent down to the D League..

Barry Weiss 4 years, 10 months ago

thanks for the update Mallory. Always nice to hear how our former Jayhawks are doing.

Dee Shaw 4 years, 10 months ago

Diallo. Lol. Remember the signs people would hold up that said, "Free Diallo" during his NCAA suspension last year. What a joke. A lot of wasted time and energy made on those signs. Amazed how much publicity that Diallo got and he sat the bench the majority of his short time here at KU. So refreshing to have freshman players this year like Josh Jackson and Azubuike that get it and realize that you must play both offense and defense to play here KU. No special treatment for some of these spoiled brats coming out of high school.

Edward Daub 4 years, 10 months ago

Harsh Criticism of Diallo! The NCAA targeted Diallo to exact revenge on KU for the Cliff Alexander Situation. Neither Diallo (or Alexander) are NBA Ready, but they took bad advice from their "advisors"! On the bright side they will both make a few million, but could have made 10X more if they stayed longer at KU (of course backed by an "injury" insurance policy.)

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 10 months ago

Basically a clueless comment. I would be interested in what information led to your conclusion of Diallo being a spoiled brat. Because he spoke French?

Pius Waldman 4 years, 10 months ago

Great reports on the guys playing in the D league. A little surprised none have taken the foreign tour route. It is unbelievable the money pro players get to ride the pine. Collison with OKC hardly gets any playing time yet earns millions of dollars. Even rookies like Diallo earn way more than many make in a lifetime. It appears Selden might be moving up eventually maybe not this year. Hey smilin Matt how about weekly reports on those D league guys.

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