Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bill Self says Cup good for ‘Svi’

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of Ukraine competes during the U16 Eurobasket 2013 first-round match between Ukraine and Latvia at Palace of Sport in Kiev, Ukraine, on Aug. 8, 2013.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of Ukraine competes during the U16 Eurobasket 2013 first-round match between Ukraine and Latvia at Palace of Sport in Kiev, Ukraine, on Aug. 8, 2013.


The FIBA World Cup basketball tournament starts Saturday in Spain — five days after the opening bell of Kansas University’s academic school year.

The fact KU freshman Sviatoslav “Svi” Mykhailiuk is entered in the Cup as a member of Ukraine’s national team makes some wonder how he’ll be able to pass the 12 hours of schoolwork he’s required to take first semester at KU.

“We’ll enroll him, obviously,” Jayhawk coach Bill Self said Monday, speaking from his Boy Scouts benefit golf tournament at Lawrence Country Club. “And then we’ll talk to his professors to make sure that there’s a way to do some things. We may even have him do some things potentially online that could get (him) caught up.

“He’s a really, really bright kid. I mean, really, really bright, considering his English is good. But it’s not exceptional yet. He’s in that Sasha Kaun-type category, so I would still predict he’d be a 3.5 student at the end of the semester,” Self added.

Self figures if Ukraine doesn’t make the medal round, the 6-foot-8 Mykhailiuk could be on campus between Sept. 8-10. The tourney concludes Sept. 14.

“I’m more concerned about him strength-wise. He wasn’t here with Andrea (Hudy, strength coach) all summer, and of course he needs it. He weighs 193 pounds, still yet he’s not strong,” Self said. “You don’t get strong overnight. It takes time. But we’ve sent him programs. He knows what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s pretty responsible, so he’s probably doing it. He’ll be behind from a basketball standpoint. But the kid is so bright. I can’t believe he can’t get caught up faster than most.”

Self said he’s pleased Mykhailiuk made his country’s national team.

“I talked to (Ukraine coach) Mike Fratello before the event, and he told me what his plans were, to play with the junior team (Under 18 Div. B European championships in July) and let him practice with the national team. He said, ‘I really doubt he will make the team. He’s going against men. Let him hang out over here. He’ll get some good training,’” Self said.

“I guess they trained him well enough he made the team. I’m happy for him. I’m a little concerned he’s going to come in well behind, which he will. Without putting too much pressure on him, I was hoping he would be really ready to be a major contributor mid-November. It may take a little bit more time. But overall it’s a great experience for him. Certainly we’re happy for him.”

Point guard update: Self was asked Monday about KU’s point-guard position, which features newcomer Devonté Graham, plus sophomores Frank Mason and Conner Frankamp.

“Really, we’re probably the deepest we’ve been at point guard,” Self said. “Last year, I kind of screwed it up and didn’t play Frank there as much as I should have. I probably didn’t put enough on him to get him ready as quickly as he needed to.

“Certainly with Frank, and Conner can play some point, but Devonté Graham is good. You could see two of those three playing together a lot. That makes us real small. Our deepest position is wing. I could see one of our wings being a 4-man and playing real small, which I think would be really hard to guard. I just don’t know if we could guard anybody. I think we’ll have all the pieces to have a chance to have a pretty good team with the exception of standing height. One of our big guys has to play a lot bigger than what they are, hopefully that will be Cliff (Alexander, 6-8) or Landen (Lucas, 6-10) probably.”

Quite an event coming: Self said ticket information on the Oct. 27 “Celebrating 60 years” — which will bring Self, Roy Williams, Larry Brown and Ted Owens into Allen Fieldhouse together for a speaking engagement — will be available in September.

“It’s going to be off-the-charts cool. It could be one of the coolest things we’ve done in Allen Fieldhouse in a long time,” Self said. “You’ve got 51 of the 60 years in the building that have been coached by the four guys. All of them will have their unique stories and perspectives. We’ll probably get ex-players to introduce each one of ’em with highlights and tributes, that kind of stuff.

“Of course, it’s Roy’s first time to come back publicly (since leaving for North Carolina), and I know he’s really excited about it. I think our fans will be very impressed and very happy it took place.”

He said the seating arrangement will likely depend on the demand for tickets.

“We can put 10,000 people in there. We can put 5,000 in there and make it more intimate,” Self said.

The trade: Self on the Andrew Wiggins to the Timberwolves trade, which is now official:

“Since I got in trouble because I said he was happy with the trade before I could say that ... officially he’s happy with the trade,” Self said with a laugh. He gave Wiggins’ take on the deal back on Aug. 10, prior to it being made official.

“He says he’s happy. So if he’s happy, everybody should be happy. I’m excited for him. They do have a pretty athletic bunch in Minnesota. When you talk about Andrew and Zach LaVine and some other things they’ve got going, they are going to be ridiculously young, but hopefully it’ll be a good foundation for his future.”

He wants to be there: Self said Boot Camp likely will start on Sept. 15 and run for 10 days to two weeks. Some dates could be switched because it falls in the recruiting period.

“As important as basketball is, recruiting still takes priority over that,” Self said. “I want to be there every day for Boot Camp.”


John Randall 7 years, 11 months ago

"I want to be there every day …" Is HCBS wanting to look out for player welfare, or this just sadistic?

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah. Probably a little bit of both. He wants make sure that the team is giving maximum effort and running the drills crisply and to perfection.

But if the head coach were away from practice, would the guys try to slack off a little? Would the assistant coaches be forced to make them pay? Could that be a potentially bad situation? Maybe.

Most likely though, he just wants to see who the hardest workers are on the team, who will try to take a break, who's buttons he has to push this way or that way to get the most out of them, and how the guys come together as a team to pick eachother up and cheer eachother along.

Of course, there's no reason why he wouldn't be able to achive those things by attending half to most of the practices rather than all of them. So maybe he's just found a convenient excuse to give the guys a couple of well deserved (hopefully) days off in the middle of camp...

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 11 months ago

PG situation: It sounds to me like Frank is the leader in the clubhouse right now, and that Self wants to use Frankamp as more of a shooting guard/secondary handler as long as D'te is ready. But Self is planning on using any of the three as PG. No mention of Selden playing the point. Early in the summer I recall Self indicated that Selden would be able to push the ball up the court and initiate the offense on occasion, saying he didn't want a PG so much as he wanted 3 combo guards out there.

Wing situation: Self calls it the deepest position probably because other than Selden, Oubre, and Greene, he also envisions Frank and Conner playing some wing, and also throw Svi in the mix.

Small ball: Brannen Greene will likely get some practice as a stretch 4 this fall, seeing as how he's got the best body for it

Bigs: Landen Lucas gets a shout out, but is it mostly because he actually is the biggest player on the team?

Mick Allen 7 years, 11 months ago

" Frank is the leader in the clubhouse right now". Frank, barring injury, will stay the leader in the clubhouse. See Brian HCBS says nice things about Frank in addition to saying nice things about Conner. I promise to quit waving the banner for Frank for awhile.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 11 months ago

Selden playing "point" is and always has been a fiction. The guy was so bad with the ball that he was replaced by Wiggins at the 2 on the press break last season. Folks can wish it to be true, but it ain't happenin'.

Selden pushing the ball up every so often and initiating the offense is much, much different than being a primary ball handler. Sure, he could walk it up the floor on occasion vs. no pressure, or get a rebound and hang onto it every so often. But that's it.

I bet that you will be able to count the minutes on two hands the amount of time this season that Mason, CF, and Graham are all on the bench at the same time (but for scrub time). Self has stated multiple times the value of ball handling. At least one will be on the floor literally all the time.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 11 months ago

This is a great opportunity for Sci to get some meaningful playing time in the second biggest basketball tournament in the world. This is a potentially once in a lifetime opportunity and Mike Fratello is a good coach so Self knows Svi is getting good instruction and practice against better players than what KU has. Self obviously believes the positives of this outweigh the negatives as he was also in favor of letting Wiggins play with the Canadian national team last summer before Andrew decided not to pursue that opportunity last year.

What I got out of Self's comments about playing small were that we may not see very much of Mickelson or Lucas next year and that Alexander will likely be dealing with foul trouble a lot early on forcing KU to play mod major small.

I still have two other big concerns outside of team size and that's team defense and the PG situation. Last year was arguably the worst defensive team of the Self era and I don't see it being much better this season either. With the PG's, is Mason's court vision improved enough to make him a better distributor.? He's definitely got a lot of fearlessness in him, bit he has to improve his passing and vision be a top level PG. Can Connor be more of a playmaker instead of just a facilitator. Also, can his defense improve enough to let him guard some of the more athletic players he'll go against. Is Graham ready to crack the rotation right away or is he going to be a guy who only plays garbage time/foul trouble minutes this season.

Mick Allen 7 years, 11 months ago

These are all legitimate concerns regarding our point guard play Aaron. One other concern I have is as Coach says 2 of the 3 will be on the court together quite often it will cause some height mismatches in the back court. To combat the possibility that the other team's 1 and 2 will try to post up our smaller guards is to apply more on ball pressure and traps to get the ball out of their hands.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 11 months ago

That statement about 2/3 of Mason, Frankamp, and Graham being on the floor together regularly has me thinking Self doesn't think Mickelson or Lucas will play a lot this season, otherwise one of those two would come in when Cliff gets into early foul trouble, which will happen regularly at least early on. An on court line up of Mason, Frankamp, Selden, Oubre, and Ellis is definitely a possibility to see some significant minutes together.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 11 months ago

Recall the comments by Self and conversation he had with Frankamp after the Stanford game. Self doesn't go out and promise anything to his players but clearly stated/expects CF to play extended minutes.

Clearly, Self's focus will be to push the ball with Mason while holding down turnovers and maintaining an outside threat with Frankamp on the court. With Selfden (2-3) starting that means CF will be the first little guy off the bench. His small lineup will put KO (3), Ellis (4), Alexander (5) with Traylor (4-5)/Greene (3-4) the first bigs off the bench. This looks to be the main 8 man rotation with Mickelson/Lucas coming in for spot duties.

Unless something unforeseen happens. Graham and Mykhailiuk sit on the bench. My bet is Graham takes a RS.

Mick Allen 7 years, 11 months ago

Suzi, I think you've identified the first 8 at least for now.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 11 months ago

When you reflect on it, that is exactly what Self has been telling us.

Chris Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

“Last year, I kind of screwed it up and didn’t play Frank there as much as I should have. I probably didn’t put enough on him to get him ready as quickly as he needed to."

Is it just me, or did this come off as a little bit of a jab (however unintentionally) against Naadir? It sounds like he just as easily could have said, "I probably should have played Frank more than Naadir last year."

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