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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Svi coming off his best game in Kansas uniform, according to his coach

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) scoops in a bucket past West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad (23) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) scoops in a bucket past West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad (23) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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In years past, Svi Mykhailiuk wasn’t ready or asked to play a big role in carrying Kansas back from big, late deficits. He's doing it so well now, though, that his coach paid him a monster compliment Thursday.

“I personally thought it was the best game he’s played since he’s been at Kansas,” Bill Self said of Monday's game at West Virginia.

Svi scored 12 points in the game’s final 6:59 on a night the Jayhawks went from 12 down with eight-and-half minutes left to a 71-66 victory.

“When you look at shots, if they make shots, great, but he competed for balls," Self said. "He was much more physical. That rebound he got, late game, where he spun out of it and walked was maybe the best defensive play of the game.”

Svi picked up a rebound and a steal in four second’s time and turned it over both times, but Self looked at the plays as a net positive.

“I can’t hardly get upset at a kid for that,” Self said of the travel. “Then, of course, he was totally exhausted, but he made timely shots late. I thought he played very, very well."

Svi hit 3-pointers with 6:59 and 5:52 remaining, and made all four free throws he attempted in the final 3:59.

His bucket at the hoop with 1:45 left gave Kansas a 65-64 lead and stood up as the game-winner. A step or two to the right of the top of the key, Svi received a pass from Graham, gained a step advantage on Esa Ahmad with his first dribble, slithered by Wesley Harris closing from the right and put up a scoop shot off the glass, evading Ahmad’s attempt to block it from behind.

The decisive, confident play demonstrated how the senior from Ukraine has expanded his game.

"He's much tougher, mentally," Self said. "I've always thought that Svi was a terrific shooter who hasn't shot it great consistently, yet.”

Before this year, Svi sometimes faded as the competition toughened. Not now. In Big 12 play, he’s averaging 17 points, shooting .532 from 3 and ranks second to Graham with three assists per game.

“Everybody kind of knew that his first three years, yeah, he can make shots, he's a good shooter, but he hasn't got on one of those rolls, and I think this year he's being much more consistent,” Self said.

So consistent that he has scored in double figures in 17 of 18 games, compared to 19 of 36 a year ago.

Comments

Craig Jackson 1 month ago

Dont know about everyone else but I always get a little of the agita when Svi comes wheeling out of the weave up top with the ball headed to the lane. Clear the lane the man's insane!

Dirk Medema 1 month ago

I may be wrong, but it has appeared to me that Svi is starting to fill the 4 spot in our 4G lineup. It makes his toughness all the more important, because he'll likley be matched up with players that are bigger/stronger than him, though not necessarily much taller. Fortunately, he seems to starting to pull a JJ and use his quickness to his advantage on O & D.

Many on the team seem to be developing well, where so many have said "never ..."

Brad Watson 1 month ago

I think he played well the last 8 to 10 minutes...but before that ..i think it was below average and i think if you asked Svi...he would agree... coach was giving him some unhappy looks...and he made some mistakes...but he plays hard and maybe after looking at the tape...he did some nice things i didn't notice...i love the kid and i know..we can't win it without him this year...he's that important

Steve Zimmerman 1 month ago

Svi has 2 options when driving: dunk hard or lob the ball. That's all. He has to stay aggressive with his quick dribble and high hops. He has shown he's got all the tools. 3pt, jumpers, dunks, you name it!! Finally!!! oh, and a floor burner!!

Mike Greer 1 month ago

Team sports, especially BB, seem to have an odd dynamic, and when you have guys like Frank on your team the dynamic gets even more strange. I believe last year it even had an influence on Josh Jackson and how he played. Josh never, in my opinion, had that super standout game, you know, the kind where you put the team on your back and do it all and score 40 points. He didn't need to, the team had Frank. Devonte and especially Svi, never had to be that guy when Frank was here. Everyone went about doing their job and their job was not to be Frank. Now Frank isn't here to do that job, and guys have to adjust to that. Devonte had like 4 free throws up until conference play, Svi has also had to change some of how he plays and play more like he does when he plays in Europe in the summer. When he plays for his national team, Svi has a much different role than he's had at KU in the past. Now with Frank and Josh both gone, and Newman not really playing the kind of ball everyone expected, and Billy riding the pine, Svi has hopefully realized a lot more is on him.

Kent Richardson 1 month ago

Fantastic Mike. Perfect understanding that we are still finding ourselves.

DeVonte was somewhat hesitating at the point until the last two weeks. He has pretty much stopped that and the goofy turnovers that follow.

Svi is being coached to keep driving and it's paying off better and better. His mixing it up with the bad boy Mountaineers was a heartening step forward. He is a natural facilitator who has had to stifle that part of his game in favor of score, score, score.

Both players are going to benefit from De Sousa's (Preston's) growth which frees them up by removing the maniacal pressure opposing defenses direct towards them.

Hopefully Newman will become the player other teams get bitten by when he goes off for 20 points unexpectedly. This happens to us all the time. Could be good for several wins if it falls that way. He is a point guard playing in the two position. He needs to play like a two guard, which entails first bombing and then penetrate to pop/dish and get layups in transition or on drives.

Vick, what is up dude? We love ya man.

Udoka is getting eye popping good. We will go as far as he can take us. Interested to see how Lual-Acuil handles him.

Dirk Medema 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Malik is most definitely not a pg and hasn't even shown the ability to fill in long enough to give Devonte more than a drink of water which is why Devonte is playing ridiculous minutes.

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