Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mykhailiuk finding his way

'Svi' goes 3-for-6 from deep vs. Spartans

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) chases a loose ball with Michigan State guard Lourawls Nairn Jr. (11) during the second half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) chases a loose ball with Michigan State guard Lourawls Nairn Jr. (11) during the second half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason talk after KU defeats Michigan State, 61-56

Bill Self, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason talk after KU defeats Michigan State, 61-56

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Box score

— Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk let fly from beyond the arc just before the halftime buzzer of Kansas University's 61-56 Orlando Classic championship victory over Michigan State in HP Fieldhouse.

“I didn’t think I would make it. I thought the ball was a little bit left from the rim. It was (a) lucky shot,” the 6-foot-8 freshman from Ukraine said of the clutch bucket that sliced a four-point deficit to 36-35.

“It was the greatest shot, great shot,” he added, obviously not meaning to brag but merely search for the right words as he continues to attempt to master the English language.

He finished with three three-pointers made in six tries after entering the game just four of 18.

“I’m trying to keep shooting because it’s one of my best weapons on the court,” said Mykhailiuk, whose three-pointer stretched a 47-44 lead to six points with 10:21 left. “I try to get better (by) practicing. I go shoot by myself. I felt better (today). I was three of six, so it was good.”

His teammates were 0-of-8 from three.

“He’s been reliable. He hasn’t shot the ball well,” KU coach Bill Self said of Mykhailiuk, who scored 11 points. “He can really shoot the ball, these guys can tell you. We have to have somebody step up and make some shots. He was 3-from-6 today. That’s the only three we made from the perimeter all day. He has to be a guy who continues to look for his shot.

“He’s really become a good defender, sound. He understands what we are trying to do for the most part,” Self added. “He’s a pretty good passer and should be a high school junior (aged 17). He’s in that phase a lot has been thrown at him in a short period of time. He obviously has a bright future.”

Mykhailiuk was part of a funny moment at the tourney. Before the first-game, during introduction of the starters, there was a long pause when the P.A. announcer saw Mykhailiuk’s name placed in front of him.

“I was sitting ready to come in. Tyler (Self, sophomore guard) said, ‘Let’s go. They will not pronounce your name,’’’ Mykhailiuk said, smiling. He charged onto the court, the announcer eventually giving the pronunciation a shot.

Svi said he’s not surprised he’s started four of six games as a mere freshman.

“I didn’t know. I was hoping for this. I hoped so,” he said.

He also was asked Sunday if it’s true he had a lot of offers to turn pro last summer — to play for a European team instead of coming to KU.

“I mean not a lot (of pressure to turn  pro), but enough,” he said. “I was talking to my family and coach. We decided to go to college. I like it more than Europe.”

Mykhailiuk’s teammates were happy to see three of his treys fall.

“He’s a big-time shooter,” junior Jamari Traylor said. “He’s going to step up and make plays. You are not going to make all of them. Be confident. Keep shooting. It’ll fall.

“He’s automatic in practice,” Traylor added. “Every time he shoots it I think it’s going in. He hasn’t gotten on that roll he usually gets on. He stepped up today and made some big shots, especially at the end of the first half.”

Self, by the way, discussed how he became familiar with Mykhailiuk as a recruit. At last year’s Final Four, a friend told him he knew the best college-aged player in Europe.

“A lot of people told me he’s the best European shooter. He’s going to be real good. We get him for two, which is good,” Self said of two seasons. 

After two seasons, he’ll be eligible for the NBA Draft.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Michigan State

By the Numbers: Kansas beats Michigan State, 61-56, to win the Orlando Classic

By the Numbers: Kansas beats Michigan State, 61-56, to win the Orlando Classic


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

We need for KO to get his game going before conference commences. We're going to be light years better when Mykailiuk can relieve Selden at the 2 with KO holding down the 3. Selden can give Ellis a break at the 4, which will create unbelievable mis-matches.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 5 months ago

Suzi: Self commented on Hawk Talk a couple of weeks ago that playing a perimeter guy at the 4 is "on the shelf." He said that the main reason he considered it was that he had so many perimeter players, it was a way to get more on the court. But CF's transfer relieved some of that pressure.

I don't know why you think we'll be better with Oubre at the 3. Svi is better in all aspects of the game, except maybe slashing to the hoop. Some have mistakenly commented that Oubre is more talented. Svi is projected to be in the top 5 of the 2016 NBA draft, those projections are just on "potential." But that's what folks think of his potential. Don't fall for the myth that Oubre is presumptively better than Svi. What you're seeing in Svi is quite possibly our best all around player in 2015-16. And maybe our best all around player right now.

He picked up the "system" after missing the summer here. Oubre was here. He picked up the system and English isn't his first language. I assume Oubre's first language is English. I think it's safe to assume that Svi is pretty darn sharp.

Perhaps the better way to look at it is that we will be light years better when Oubre can come in and spell Svi, or Selden (and Svi moves to the 2).

By the way, Vitale said on the broadcast that Self said that "Oubre's best basketball" will be beyond college. Now, that might not mean much. Most top players best basketball is beyond college. But it sounded odd to me.

Luca Rossi 7 years, 5 months ago

I thought the quote was "Oubre's best basketball MAY be beyond college." When I heard it I thought it was a bit odd too but took it to mean that Oubre may take a while to get into the swing of things at KU and could be gone to the NBA before it happens. Then again, it could just be a statement that Self thinks Oubre has a ton of growth potential that may not be fully tapped until he's already gone to the NBA.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 5 months ago

+1 - the only thing I would add is Svi's mental approach is way beyond his years. His body language is the same positive look whether he is having a good or bad game shooting the ball. He is in every play if he is on the court, smart player. Add to that he defends well, rebounds some, has a great shot, and is long for his position. It is all positive and rising for this young man.

KO, and I hate to say this, is making me feel like the "tharpe" of this team. Seems out of sync, makes bad decisions, does not contribute when playing, and he actually hurts the team when he is in there. Will he get better before he leaves is the question? The answer could be no.

KO is easily the most puzzling player we have on the team so far this season.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

Jack, my comment is directed toward when KO can sub in for Mykailiuk at the 3, allowing him to move into the 2, which would allow a rest of Selden or move him to the 4.

KO is incredibly athletic with great bbal skills and a potential shut down defender.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 5 months ago

Selden giving Ellis a break at the 4? Suzi, WTH are you smoking?

Bryce Landon 7 years, 5 months ago

I still can't pronounce his name, so I empathize with the HP Fieldhouse PA announcer.

Kent Wells 7 years, 5 months ago

Think of Oubre as the next Kawhi Leonard. At least for perspective on the Self comment....

Mick Allen 7 years, 5 months ago

Luca, are you any more impressed with Mason than you were last week? How about 11 out of 18 field goals, 4 out of or 8 threes, 17 rebounds, 17 assists with 6 turn overs, 4 steals and all tourney. All of you Mason doubters, and there have been more than a few, let's get on board with the fact he is and will be our point guard and he is playing well. Toughest, most tenacious kid on the team. Sharon Lite?

Luca Rossi 7 years, 5 months ago

Yes Mick, Mason has had a terrific three game stretch with fewer bad plays than we're used to seeing. Like I have previously stated, I think this team needs him in the starting lineup for his ball handling skills alone. He easily has the best handles on the team. Its the lazy and/or out of control turnovers that have most of the "doubters" hesitant about him. I'm being cautious about overreacting to a few games, its still a small sample size. Everyone was crowning Graham our stud PG for the season after the first game and recall last year after the Duke game the same Mason hype train was running full speed ahead. Lets see him play this way for more than just a few games. I'm still not ready to drink the Kool-Aid yet, but liking the apparent growth he has displayed lately. Hopefully he keeps it up because I could sure use a drink!

ps, not sure if you're aware but if you press the "reply" link to the bottom right of a message your reply to someone's message will appear directly below it and not at the bottom of the message list.

Robert Brock 7 years, 5 months ago

KO continues to be completely lost on offense and defense. Meanwhile, Svi gets it.

Who woulda thunk it before the season started?

Mick Allen 7 years, 5 months ago

Completely lost on offense and defense? MSU shoots 32%. Provide specifics if you can Robert.

Mick Allen 7 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Robert, your comment was directed at Oubre, not the whole team. Reading is obviously a problem for me. Your comment is accurate.

Gregor Southard 7 years, 5 months ago

I think Mason looked light years better this past weekend. He's actually looking to pass the ball now.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree. I was very critical of him before, but he looked a lot better in this tourney. The one thing I'm still concerned about is when he blindly charges into the lane and gets out of control. That was a big problem against Kentucky's size, so I hope he takes into account who's in the lane.

He did a lot less of that this time, so hopefully he can continue to work on doing less of it.

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