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Mykhailiuk puts best skill on full display during workout with the Celtics

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Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts up a three from the corner over Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby (15) during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts up a three from the corner over Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby (15) during the first half, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

As many of you probably saw on Twitter on Tuesday, I was told by someone closely connected to Kansas junior Svi Mykhailiuk that the KU guard knocked down 85 of 100 NBA-range 3-point attempts during a recent workout with the Boston Celtics.

Obviously, that’s damn good.

And, while I’m sure there are those of you out there who might not believe the number, I have no doubt about the validity of the claim because I’ve seen Svi light it up, shot after shot, swish after swish, in an open gym with nobody guarding him.

That, essentially, was the drill he ran through during his recent workout with the Celtics, and, evidently, it’s something Boston — and probably other teams — does on an annual basis.

A year ago, former Oklahoma star Buddy Hield went through the same drill and, believe it or not, also knocked down 85 of the 100 3-pointers he shot. Also last year, former Kentucky guard Jamal Murray did the same drill and drained 79 triples and, a couple of months before that, former Gonzaga big man Kyle Wiltjer made 77. You get the point.

Along with just about every other team in the NBA, the Celtics clearly like to see just how well guys can shoot before they even consider drafting them.

And while this one drill is certainly an eye-opener when you first hear about the results, it’s not exactly a great predictor of future NBA success. Hield, for instance was drafted in the lottery last year, while Wiltjer went undrafted.

So, obviously, there are many more factors that go into whether a player is draft worthy, and it’s those factors that make Svi more of a question mark as he embarks upon his path to the draft and juggles the decision whether to stay in it or return to Kansas for his senior year.

As has been my belief throughout the process, I really don’t think Svi knows yet whether he will stay or go. This week’s combine likely will play a huge role in helping him determine the answer and I don’t think people should be looking at this thing in the scope of whether Svi is a first-round draft pick or not.

Sure, that’s where the guaranteed money is made. But getting drafted in the second round does not mean you’re not going to make a roster. It just means it’s going to be a lot harder and the money you’ll be getting will be money that you will have earned through toughness and grit and hunger and prayer.

My take on Svi is this: No matter how well he does this week at the combine, he’s probably a second-round pick. So the question for him isn’t really about money and earning potential. It’s about a gamble.

Does he think he’s good enough to make a roster from a second-round slot or does he think he should come back, be more aggressive as a senior, attempt to showcase more of his all-around game and hope that improves his draft stock?

It’s a tough question. And one I’m glad I don’t have to answer.

Because, at the end of the day, no matter how much Svi does or does not show, either this week at the combine or next season at Kansas, he’s either going to make the NBA or not make it because he can shoot the basketball.

Going 85-for-100 in a drill in front of some important people who can directly impact your future certainly doesn’t hurt anything.

But the guess here is that those people have already forgotten about it. What they want to know is simple: Can he do it again?

Other quick combine notes:

• Josh Jackson, a projected Top 3 pick in this summer's NBA Draft, will not even attend the combine for interviews. He's been working out in Los Angeles and will stay there instead of traveling to Chicago to interview with teams. One source said Jackson would eventually meet one-on-one with NBA teams but added that the list would likely be five or less given his status as a high lottery pick.

• Frank Mason III will join Svi in Chicago for the combine and the two biggest days for both players will come Thursday and Friday when they participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages and a variety of skills and agility tests.

• In a recent interview with the Journal-World, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said that, when he first came to the United States many scouts viewed Mykhailiuk as a future college and/or NBA point guard. Things have not played out that way during his three-year KU career, however, and Mykhailiuk's best path to the draft, should he stay in it, is as an athletic, instant-offense type of wing player with a deadly shot. Svi has until 10 days after the end of the combine (May 24) to decide whether to leave his name in the draft pool or return to KU for his senior year.

Comments

John Fitzgerald 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I really hope Svi comes back. As I've said before, after he gets what he needs from the NBA combine he'll come back more determined and focused. But, I'm beginning to lean more towards him staying in the Draft, and for a few reasons.

1.) I think it's hard as a student athlete to check out of classes, then have to check back in.

2.) I don't see much of a chance that he improves his draft stock next year with guys like Graham, Newman, Preston and Cunliffe on the roster. There's even a chance Svi might not start next year.

3.) Shooting 85 out of 100 3's is impressive for anyone. And although they only saw him do that drill once you can't deny he can shoot. The NBA loves guys that can shoot, even if that's all they do. And that might be enough just to get him drafted as long as he scores well on most other areas.

4.) I think it's obvious Svi isn't at the combine to see if he can get in the 1st round. He wants to either 1.) know what he can improve on, or 2.) see the chances of even getting drafted at all. If 2 becomes a certainty, which I think there's a good chance, then he likely stays in the Draft.

5.) We don't have any scholarship slots left. I know Matt put out an article with ways Self and KU could get around this but I see it being more realistic if Duval were to choose KU than if Svi decided to stay. I could be 100% wrong, but just my take.

Also, a little side note; it's really odd to me that Trevon Duval still hasn't made his decision. At this point I'm 100% sure he's not picking KU. But, as he stated in one of the articles I read (or it could have been his blog), him and his father want to make his decision something that hasn't been done before. This shows me he's willing to make a splash, and a splash would be picking Seton Hall. I feel like that'd be a nice consolation prize for KU fans if he doesn't pick us, but also bypasses Duke to pick Seton Hall. Anyways, just my take on the situation.

Steve Corder 4 months, 2 weeks ago

One telling marker on the question "will he or won't he", is did he finish in the classroom this spring semester. Aren't finals this week?

Matt Tait 4 months, 2 weeks ago

There's no doubt that he did, but I don't think that's a huge indicator either way because KU, coach Self and the academic staff at KU always makes sure those guys take care of business in that department so it does not have a negative effect on the program through their APR numbers and any penalties that may come from that.

Lance Hobson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

He's not predicted to be drafted at all in any of the mock drafts. He needs to come back. Last season his shaky ball handling and general lack of athleticism on defense didn't make up for his occasional hot shooting.

Mike Greer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

It's impressive he can make 85% when the only pressure on his shot is in the stands and not in his face. But, even I might be able to make a 3 with no one guarding me, not even 1 in 100 with someone in my face. I think the 5 on 5 will be more telling.

I hope he's back in Lawrence next season, he's still young and another year in NCAA hoops could make a difference in his draft position. At KU he can gain some additional strength and hone his shooting skills even more, and be able to do it where it counts, against another player, not an open space.

On the Duval issue, I'm not sure what he hopes to accomplish by waiting so long to announce, he's not the #1 recruit, what can he have to gain? What he has to loose is everyone gets tired of waiting and all the scholarships are gone. Yeh, I know, someone will pull a rabbit out of the hat and have one for him, but why even take that chance? It's not like he's holding out for more money. Just makes me think he's a drama queen.

Dirk Medema 4 months, 1 week ago

There are a lot of players that are deciding whether to stay in the draft or not, which makes a big difference in what the teams will look like. I don't blame him at all, and really expect to see it more. For a top player that's only going to be on campus for 1 year it is reasonable for them to want to know who will be on their team.

It is interesting that some will complain about the schools exploiting the players for all the money they make off the players, but still complain when the players leverage the power they do have. Sounds wise to me.

Marcus Balzer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't see how coming back to college really benefits him. It isn't like a Mason or Graham where each knew that they would be handed the keys to the kingdom. Svi will get minutes next year but will never be a focal point of our offense. Might as well stay in the Draft and become a FULL time, PROFESSIONAL player and get PAID for it. Come back to college you are a student athlete first. You get drafted in the second round you are a professional player whose life occupation is playing basketball 24/7. No study halls, classes, etc...you work out, watch film, practice and play.

Joe Joseph 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Nailed it.

School can always be finished later. The opportunity to make millions of dollars playing basketball, whether in the NBA or overseas, is a finite window.

Brett McCabe 4 months, 1 week ago

I think that, if he gets any sense that he'll be drafted, that he'll be gone.

Bryce Landon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

So Svi hit 85% on 3's during a workout. WHOOPTY-FREAKING-DOO. Where the hell was that shooting when we needed it so desperately against Oregon? Hey Svi, you're not NBA worthy yet. Hell, you're not even NBDL worthy as far as I'm concerned. Get your ass back in college for one more year; you owe it to your fans to redeem yourself for letting us down in March.

John Fitzgerald 4 months, 2 weeks ago

How many people have you murdered? My goodness you have an angry soul.

Mike Greer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

All the Jayhawks had to do to beat Oregon was have an average game, score their average number of points and hold Oregon to the average opposition points. Svi held up his end, he played his average game. Unfortunately, when someone (or a couple of someones) isn't playing to their average, someone else needs to step up and play above average and that didn't happen, not Svi, not "Player of the Year", not the Sr. center, not the guys off the bench. Sure, it would have been nice if any one of those guys could have scored the points that normally came from the other players, but that wasn't the case. But you can't blame Svi, he held up his end by playing his average, if everyone would have done that well, they would have won. That really isn't any different than what happened the prior year vs. Nova, Ellis had what was probably his worst game as a Jayhawk and no one could make up those points.

Gerry Butler 4 months, 1 week ago

SVI doesn't owe " the fans squat " you need to get over yourself sparky. Is the fans going to be his income source? - -tell ya what I'd be willing to bet you just about anything you got YOU sure the hell couldn't make 85-100 guarded or open - -hell you probably couldn't make 85 layups unguarded. you get really old with your negative BS. why don't you just toddle on down the pike to Manhattan sure they would welcome you with open arms for sure. SVI didn't let anyone down against Oregon - - The TEAM let you down - there are FIVE PLAYERS SVI by himself in no way cost us this game. Get over it, it's done -- finished - -in the past time to put the big boy britches on and move on. SVI will do what's best for him - - NOT for you. Dam man unbelievable grow up.

Eliott Reeder 4 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, but they said "back to school" on every one of those guys but Swanigan.

Barry Weiss 4 months, 1 week ago

I think one factor that is not mentioned, at least I have not seen it, is that Coach has not stated anything very favorable about where Svi would fit in to KU's team next year. The most I recall reading is that coach said if Svi did not make it, we would "reassess" where Svi was at. I think coach honestly told Svi he probably should try to go pro this year as next year his minutes "could" be less and therefore his stock could go down even more, unless he made the starting line up and lite it up all year.

Harlan Hobbs 4 months, 1 week ago

Just decided to check out this article, but I must say that Mr. Fitzgerald said it all in the first post.

On the Duval situation, could he be another Brandon Jennings or Immanuel Mudeyey (I know the spelling is wrong) who went to Europe and China respectively to play pro ball right out of high school and then move into the NBA at their first opportunity? I know that they had grades problems, which Duval apparently doesn't, but maybe this trend is going to grow as a way out of having to play a year of college.

Absent that, the thought of picking Seton Hall is a real possibility. He certainly would be "the man" there and could rev up his statistics in preparation for the NBA as a lottery pick.

Dirk Medema 4 months, 1 week ago

It would seem to me that playing alongside quality teammates would help his stats - knocking down shots for A, requiring honest defense to maintain spacing, ...

Jim Stauffer 4 months, 1 week ago

I cannot see anything in Svi's game that is improved upon at the college level that would not be accomplished in the D league or Europe. He simply needs to have his ball skills reach a level of acceptance as well as his defense. We know his shooting will always be the reason he is there. Now, ask yourself where he can improve those most quickly, college while maintaining academics and other schedules, or professionally where he can spend however many hours are necessary on practice?

Harlan Hobbs 4 months, 1 week ago

I don't disagree, Dirk. However, I'm not sure that Duval thinks that way. If he wanted to play with the best, he surely would have made his decision by now. After all, all of the elite programs have been camped on his doorstep.

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