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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Svi Mykhailiuk’s emergence makes KU even more dangerous

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts up a three over Texas Tech guard Devaugntah Williams (0) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts up a three over Texas Tech guard Devaugntah Williams (0) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Svi Mykhailiuk has taken his act, in the past seen mostly in practice, and gone public with it. As a result, an already strong Kansas University basketball roster has become deeper, smoother, more dangerous.

Svi’s late-season surge equates to a contending Major League Baseball team adding a hired gun for the stretch run and postseason. A more consistent Johnny Cueto in sneakers.

Svi made all five of his three-point shots and led Kansas with 17 points in 23 minutes off the bench during Saturday's 67-58 victory against Texas Tech. A nine-game winning streak, 12 consecutive Big 12 titles, a hired gun joining the mix. Nobody will dispute KU’s No. 1 ranking when the Associated Press college basketball poll is released Monday.

“He looks like a pro,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I mean, he looks like a pro to me. The way he played at K-State, those were as good a plays, I mean looking plays, as anybody’s made for us this year. Jumping up shooting threes in transition, confident.”

Svi’s smooth gait, speed, and classic jump-shot form have hinted at future production, but the shots didn’t start dropping with any consistency until recently. He used to look like a good prospect. Now he looks like a good Big 12 player, too.

He has made 9 of 11 three-pointers in the past three games, including victories at Kansas State and at Baylor.

When Svi plays with the sort of confidence he has of late, it’s difficult to remember that the 6-foot-8-inch sophomore from Cherkasy, Ukraine, is 18. When he plays tentatively, he looks even younger.

He definitely has played with more aggressiveness of late and had no trouble identifying the source of his growing confidence.

“It’s always making shots and playing good defense,” Svi said. “When you make shots, you’re more confident. And when you play good defense, it makes you more comfortable and gives you more energy.”

Svi has the skill to take advantage of screens as both a shooter and passer, hitting the screener rolling toward the hoop with good timing.

“When he’s knocking down shots, defenders will be on him and it will be key to him making great passes,” senior Perry Ellis said.

Nobody has a better feel for a player's talent than a teammate, which is why no one who practices with and against Mykhailiuk daily is surprised with his breakthrough.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self discusses KU adding to Big 12 title streak

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses his team's home win over Texas Tech, which sealed up at least a share of the program's 12th regular-season Big 12 championship in a row.

Download podcast

“We always believed in Svi,” junior Frank Mason III said. “Every day, even in practice, we would tell him to keep his confidence, tell him he’s a great player, great shooter, to try to keep him going, because we know he’s a huge part of our team.”

So is Brannen Greene, who gives Self not only another option at wing, but the chance to use Greene to back up Ellis, or even someone who can play alongside him for stretches against teams with smaller lineups.

Six of the eight players averaging double-digit minutes for the Jayhawks (25-4) boast high three-point percentages: Greene (.537), Ellis (.462), Devonté Graham (.423, same as the team’s percentage), Wayne Selden Jr. (.409), Mason (.393) and Mykhailiuk (.388).

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mason, Ellis and Mykhailiuk react to earning share of Big 12 title

Kansas basketball players Frank Mason III, Perry Ellis and Svi Mykhailiuk meet with reporters after the Jayhawks earned at least a share of KU's 12th consecutive Big 12 title with a win over Texas Tech.

Download podcast

Svi led the way but was not solely responsible for the bench's strong contribution on a day the starters needed the help. Jamari Traylor and Chieck Diallo combined for nine rebounds and three blocked shots in 26 minutes.

Things are rounding into shape in timely fashion for Kansas, whose coach is forever mindful of means to ensure his players remain hungry.

— Sports editor Tom Keegan appears on The Drive at10:30 p.m. every Sunday on WIBW-TV.

— See what people were saying about Kansas vs. Texas Tech during KUsports.com’s live coverage


More news and notes from KU’s win over Texas Tech





By the Numbers: Kansas 67, Texas Tech 58

By the Numbers: Kansas 67, Texas Tech 58

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 8 months ago

What makes him so dangerous is not only his 3 capability. He can pull a jumper off a quick dribble, he can drive to the basket, throws a lob pass, and his court vision is simply amazing. That swift pass to Traylor is just sick. That kind of play make the game more fun to watch. I'm really glad Svi is making the most out his minutes. Looking forward to watch more Svi!!

Rock Chalk!

Janet Olin 3 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. I am excited that Svi is finally getting in a groove with more minutes. As I've said before, don't underestimate how he can contribute down the stretch, especially if a guard is in foul trouble or whatever. Coach can still play Greene because opponents can't afford to ignore him, but Svi has a much better all-round game and is blossoming at an opportune moment. Continued regular playing time will help that.

Arthur Ankeney 3 years, 8 months ago

Could not agree more! This has SO much to do with Self finally giving him enough minutes to show what he can do and build his own confidence. It is so hard for these guys who come in for 2-3 minutes to have any confidence in their game. He was lucky to hit an early shot against K-State which got him an extra 2-3 and since then he's been flying.

Joe Ross 3 years, 8 months ago

Dear Lord.

I pray Svi and Greene get into a shooting war and take pride in three-upping each other. I pray Wayne Selden returns to the hotel in Korea where he left his game and claims it from the lost and found. I pray Frank Mason III mind melds with Chuck Norris, and realizes that death once had a near-Chuck Norris experience. I pray that we learn to Bragg about Cheick's inside game. I pray that all Jayhawks who are performing well KEEP performing well. And please, God, if it's not asking too much, please let all of this happen during the tournament.

Amen.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey Joe as far as Wayne goes he brought most of his game back from Korea......What he had left his grandfather took back with him after the Kentucky game ......we need to call Wayne's grandfather and ask him to give it back ,

Rock Chalk

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 8 months ago

Svi stated he came to KU to play TWO years...wonder if he still plans to leave after his 2nd season? He is usually picked to go somewhere between the mid to late 2nd round.

Diallo is still a late 1st rounder.

Billy Derringer 3 years, 8 months ago

If this team only loses its seniors they will be scary good next season. Does Svi deserve to start in place of Seldon.

Arthur Ankeney 3 years, 8 months ago

I struggle with this question too... Svi is playing way better. So much better vision and shooting on offense. Still loses his man when off the ball occasionally but improving and really no worse than Wayne is on the ball. The real question I think would have to weigh Wayne's personality. Would losing the starting job push him into a high-motor mode and bring back Korea/UK Wayne? Or would it destroy any confidence he may have left and destroy any chance of him making tournament-time contributions. Also, we've seen Wayne come up big in big moments. In the Korea tournament, Kentucky game, he's come up big. Tourny time is big moment time and maybe he'll come back.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

The great thing about this team is the number of quality options we have. Any of them are capable of exploding, and now you add Svi as an realistic option.

It was also fun to see Diallo's stat line mimicking Lucas'. It would be huge for him to become a reliable big. Not so much as someone that the O runs through, but just like Landon, someone that can be a D presence, get rebounds, pick up junk points, and enable all the O options around them. It has me remembering Perry coming alive around this time his freshman year and being a big contributor down the stretch.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 8 months ago

We need this sharpshooter to stay sharp as we go into the NCAAs. A common denominator in so many of our NCAA losses over the years is cold shooting from 3-point territory.

Arthur Ankeney 3 years, 8 months ago

That's what is great about having Wayne, Graham, Frank, Greene, and Svi. When they're struggling, it's gonna be hard for them ALL to struggle. This game everybody wasn't hitting but Svi. That gave the guys just enough confidence that a couple extra dropped in the second half.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 8 months ago

Does playing time equate to success?. Yes it does.......ask Lucas . He commented this week that he has gotten better because Coach Self has given him more minutes and you can now see the fruits of his labor. The same can be said for Svi. He had a nice stroke today which gave him more minutes. Again not so long ago Svi wasn't getting off the bench for several games in a row. He has begun to separate himself from Greene as being more than a jump shooter ,his defense has picked up and his passing has gotten better He is seeing the court better and with Wayne in a slump Coach Self has added a couple more links in Svi s chain when he makes a mistake ........he is not as quick to yank him . Hopefully its a sign of things to come . And don't forget Greene if he is on... can also stretch the defense so if we can get them both peaking at the same time .....look out !

Rock Chalk

Steve Corder 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom, Greene's defense makes him a liability, a risky and narrow option for Self.

Tyler Capone 3 years, 8 months ago

Keep playing Svi. Stop playing Greene. Pretty simple IMO. Even without a consistent 3, Svi is better than Brannen.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 8 months ago

This might be true if Svi were a great defender and/or a great passer.

Is he a better defender/passer/ball-handler than Greene? Sure (though I maintain it's not as significant as some think). But when Svi isn't making shots, he's not as valuable as a Brannen Greene who is making shots.

Greene looked especially suspect on D yesterday. Given that it took a while for him to get off the bench, I'm betting his hip was feeling "tight" like he has mentioned in the past. Legit, or nah, none of "us" will ever really know.

Arthur Ankeney 3 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. And even though Graham and Mason are playing well, I wouldn't be opposed to dropping their minutes some as well. With a team this deep and players fighting for minutes, there's no reason they should be playing 36-38 minutes per in my opinion. Run and play hard for 30 per game instead and let these guys run and play hard as well.

Chad Smith 3 years, 8 months ago

At this point, I don't care who gets what minutes as long as we win. In march and hopefully April, you just want W's. That's all that matters.

From a consistency standpoint, you have to look at Frank, Perry, Landen and Devonte as being our most constant high-quality performers that bring something very important to the table to the team every game. Everyone else, honestly they have had their moments. Wayne is probably the most frustrating because we all know what he is capable of and we've seen him do it before. Svi, Brannen, Cheick, Jamari, Carlton, they've all filled in and done fairly well but none of them has consistenly (I'm talking a 10+ game stretch at the very least) shined off the bench.

Part of that is lack of playing time and part of that is a reflection of our depth. Someone picks us up and helps the team out. And it's not usually been the same person. Which is interesting.

If Svi keeps playing this way, he'll steal minutes from WS. And maybe that will ignite Wayne in the tourney to play his best. At the end of the day, just keep winning, that heals all else. It's a team game and we have fulfilled that objective throughout the season. ROCK CHALK!

Dirk Medema 3 years, 8 months ago

In '08, the team leaders in minutes played were Chalmers and Rush at about 30 mpg, which was 20th in the conference. There were 4 more at about 24-25 mpg and Sasha at 17.

This year, Frank leaders the team at about 35 mpg (4th) with the other 3 leaders all coming in at 30+. The next 4 drop off to 19, 12, 12, 12, then the freshmen bigs at 7's.

Yesterday, Coach commented about the team having tired legs during the January slump. The reality is that it was likely just the 4 leaders, and the 19 - 7 mpg crew had sufficiently fresh legs. It seems to me that Coach was most successful when he was able to steal a few mpg for the leaders to rest. Some of the rest can be accomplished through practice schedules, but hopefully we can steal minutes with the 7's and 12's in order to keep everyone as fresh as possible through all the games.

1 trophy down, 3 to go.

Mallory Briggans 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey Dirk although its seemed like years ago ....but it was this team.. The World Games count for something although its wasn't much to anyone but Jayhawk fans it was a team our team that brought home the gold ......I was excited as were the players and maybe you held your head high as well.......so 1 trophy or 2 ..........depending on how you look at it. I will give them 2 with 3 to go.... Lol some may want to add the Maui Classic well it was a Trophy ...But we all agree the trophy in April is the most important trophy

Rock Chalk

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 8 months ago

Selden is fatter now. He looks so heavy when he moves. I'm not sure who's fault it is. Is it because his role now has changed? Is it he himself becoming lazy going to the gymn?

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 8 months ago

Svi is far more polished than Brannen, and it is beginning to show. Brannen may be the better "spot up" shooter, but Svi is almost as good, plus he can create his shot. When Brannen tries to attack, he often looks out of control to me and more likely to turn the ball over. Both are good passers too, but I give the edge to Svi.

Svi is also better on defense, which endears him more to Coach Self. I would have to watch the replay of the game to see for sure, but I thought Coach played both of them at the same time yesterday. I like the idea because two sharp shooters are better than one. Then, throw in Frank or Devonte at the point, and you have a monster three point attack.

It seems like this team is peaking at the right time, notwithstanding that tomorrow night's game at Austin is likely to be a downer. Hard to match the energy and enthusiasm that clinching a tie yesterday created. Was either last year or maybe the year before, we went to Baylor right after clinching the conference title and laid an egg. Given that we will probably be ranked #1 in the new polls, Texas will have most everything going for them emotionally. All we really have to play for is clinching the title outright, which we can do anyway on Saturday at home against ISU on Senior Day. Hope I am wrong and that we lay one on the Longhorns.

Also, got to give Joe Ross props for creativity mixed in with a little humor. Enjoyable post.

Kent Richardson 3 years, 8 months ago

Bill is getting less hesitant all the time. When we need scoring he has gone to a lot of different things. I agree that Svi playing more does not have to curtail as many of Greene's minutes.

Mick Allen 3 years, 8 months ago

One significant thing that Svi does better than Brannon is move without the ball to spot up for his 3.Brannen will go the corner and often remain stationary. Sri does a better job of moving to an open spot so Frank or Devonte can get him an open look.

Kent Richardson 3 years, 8 months ago

Without consistent production from our entire bench we may have to settle for the continuing streak this year. Our missing bunnies type games drop us from a 77 to 66 point a game team. Cheick is so close to taking a step up. Difference between Svi and Brannen is Svi will keep chucking them up. Frank has to curb him by not over feeding.

Kent Richardson 3 years, 8 months ago

I think a part of it is that Selden was "the man" earlier in the year. We may not want to accept he is more like 2015 Wayne lately. It's almost like he can take over a game or no show. With Svi being all around better we get relief for sure. Thank goodness for that.

Arthur Ankeney 3 years, 8 months ago

The great thing is, you can usually tell what kind of game Wayne is gonna have within the first 3 minutes. So if it's a good first 3 minutes, play him 30+ minutes. if it's a bad first 3 minutes, let Svi and Brannen play.

Thad Daugherty 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree with the poster above about Wayne's minutes. If someone else is hot ride them. I was watching the game Saturday and Wayne just looked slow like he was running in quicksand. And, it kind of scares me when he handles the ball. To be honest there was a stretch that he was in the game that I forgot he was even in the game he had so little impact.

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