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KU juniors Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk made decisions to return on their own

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Kansas guards Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) and Devonte' Graham (4) make conversation during the second half, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guards Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) and Devonte' Graham (4) make conversation during the second half, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

One of the most popular rumors during the stay-or-go portion of the 2016-17 Kansas basketball team’s immediate offseason — and even throughout the season’s final couple of months — was that the NBA decisions facing junior guards Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk were tied together.

As close as any two Jayhawks not named Morris during recent years and roommates during their days leading up to their respective decisions, it made sense for folks to speculate that the two Jayhawks would consult one another about their futures during the process and perhaps even agree to make the same decision one way or another.

To hear Graham tell it, that wasn’t the case at all.

“Nah, that didn’t have anything to do with it,” Graham told reporters Sunday afternoon following registration and check-in for this year’s Bill Self Basketball Camps. “We weren’t doing it for each other. He wanted to test and see where he would end up and he just made the decision to come back. He felt like that was best for him at the time.”

Graham did not need nearly as long to make up his mind, deciding to return to KU for his final season a little more than two weeks after the Jayhawks’ season-ending loss to Oregon in the Elite Eight.

Because Graham’s announcement came much quicker, a full 45 days before Mykhailuk’s, that left all eyes on the young Ukrainian, who revealed on May 24 that he would return to KU for his senior season.

Two of those eyes belonged to Graham.

“He actually had me kind of worried and I know he had everybody else kinda worried, too,” Graham said. “I was happy to hear he was coming back.”

Unlike most of the rest of the world, which found out Mykhailiuk’s decision via Instagram and Twitter, Graham got the VIP treatment, receiving a text message from his good friend about an hour before the big reveal went public.

Graham, who this season figures to slide into his biggest and most important leadership role yet, said he checked in with Mykhailiuk often throughout the process — mostly via FaceTime chats — and said he, too, learned some things about the whole pre-draft process from Mykhailiuk and other past teammates who had gone through it.

“That can definitely help me,” Graham admitted. “You know, I talked to Wayne (Selden) about it, the whole process, and Frank (Mason III) and people who did it before. So I’ll talk to (Mykhaiiluk) once he gets back about everything that he went through. I was Face-Timing him during the whole thing and stuff like that, too, so I know a little bit about what was going on.”

While Graham and the rest of his teammates will get a jumpstart on preparations for the 2017-18 season, which unofficially began Sunday and will take a massive step forward when KU begins practicing for its August trip to Italy for four exhibition games in Rome and Milan, Mykhailiuk is already overseas working out for the Ukrainian national team for a spot on Team Ukraine in this year’s FIBA Eurobasket 2017 tournament.

Mykhailiuk is not expected to be on campus any time soon but is expected to play with the Jayhawks in Italy. The FIBA event is slated for the first two weeks of September.

Graham said Sunday that he and Mykhailiuk once again would be roommates during the upcoming school year and season, which not only will give them a chance to further build their bond as friends but also to lean on one another in their quest to become senior leaders for the Jayhawks during the 2017-18 season.

Comments

Scott Callahan 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Great news! Two fine young men with a lot of character and all the signs of a good upbringing. Hopefully they'll offset the Scumbag Brothers coming in from Memphis.

Phil Leister 6 months, 2 weeks ago

What joy do you possibly glean from making comments like that? What does it do for you exactly? I'm genuinely curious.

Greg Ledom 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm sure Scott's been a straight up model citizen since being birthed from his mothers womb. And thus he must model all others from it.

James Miller 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Scott, at their age I was a true "scumbag." Now after 5 deployments to OEF/OIF, in which I received medals for valantry, I am considered by many a hero.

People who once thought I was crap, now look up to me.

I only say these things to say that it is too early to judge these young men. Not to mention that the things they have done are not exemplary, but definitely not worthy of the term "scumbag."

Greg Ledom 6 months, 1 week ago

Know you weren't asking for this, but need to write it. Thank you for your service James. Rock Chalk!

Eliott Reeder 6 months, 2 weeks ago

What? Scott, just refrain from posting, please.

Suzi Marshall 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Darn, I was hoping they would play these games in June, allowing Mykailiuk to join the team in Italy at some point. It would be cool if Ukraine played Italy, which is on the pre-tournament schedule, around the same time/place where the 'Hawks play.

What is really cool is to see how widely the game has advanced since the Naismith/Allen days in Lawrence developing the game. http://www.fiba.com/eurobasket/2017/news/ukraine-show-off-their-talent-ahead-of-fiba-eurobasket-2017

Elliott Teters 6 months, 1 week ago

I do not understand where Scott is getting his information. Is it just that one incident in which one of the Lawson brothers said something disparaging to Coach Tubby, or does he have more insight that the rest of us have about these two young men. I sure hope they do not read this comment by Scott and somehow believes that there are other KU fans who feel this way. The incident was unfortunate but to condemn two brothers for one F bomb? That is really disappointing. Who among us has not done something which in hindsight was a very poor choice??

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