Monday, September 18, 2017

Mykhailiuk: Day 1 of KU boot camp as tough as ever

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) heads in for a bucket past TCU guard Kenrich Williams (34) during the first half, Thursday, March 9, 2017 at Sprint Center.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) heads in for a bucket past TCU guard Kenrich Williams (34) during the first half, Thursday, March 9, 2017 at Sprint Center.


The one and only message uttered by Kansas senior Svi Mykhailiuk and the rest of the KU upperclassmen to a handful of first-year Jayhawks before the opening day of KU’s annual boot camp on Monday morning was simple — be on time.

“That’s the main thing. We can’t be late,” said Mykhailiuk in a 4:30 p.m. Monday debriefing with reporters outside the Kansas locker room, a little more than 12 hours after he answered the call of his alarm clock. “Anywhere we go we gotta be early, like 10 minutes. So we told all the newcomers get there early and just be ready.”

For Mykhailiuk, who flirted with entering the NBA Draft this summer but elected to return to Kansas for his senior season, Monday’s boot camp opener marked the final such session of his career.

So after three boot camps as an underclassman, was going through the choreographed conditioning finally easier as a senior?

“Not really,” he joked. “Boot camp is hard every year. It was my fourth one. It’s always hard, but it’s just all about mental toughness. You’ve gotta be mentally strong to know what you’re doing and do everything right.”

Mykhailiuk said first-timers Sam Cunliffe, Marcus Garrett, Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson, Charlie Moore, Billy Preston and Chris Teahan handled themselves well during Monday’s session, which featured all kinds of conditioning drills and opportunities to exhibit toughness but, by design, no basketballs.

“It’s hard,” Mykhailiuk said. “But everybody’s helping everybody to make it easier for each other. It’s getting us better, though. So it doesn’t matter what we’re doing. In the long run, it’s going to help us win a national championship, the Big 12, anything we’re gonna win if we want to win.”

At least a portion of Monday morning was easier for Mykhailiuk because of the work he has put in during the past couple of months.

After weighing in at 227 pounds at the end of the 2016-17 season, Mykhailiuk went to work on his diet and dropped 20 pounds over the summer. Today he weighs 207 and he’s hoping to stay right there for the upcoming season.

“I feel like I’m faster with the light weight,” Mykhailiuk said. “And I’m more athletic. It’ll just help me overall in the game.”

So how did the noticeably leaner senior drop the weight? It wasn’t by cutting out McDonald’s and pizza. He never really ate much of that anyway.

“Not really,” he said. “But, for example, I didn’t eat a lot of salads and green stuff, vegetables, (before) so I think that’s the main thing that’s gonna help me a lot. Look out what you eat, just be professional, work out every day, take care of your body and know what you’re eating and drinking. No soda, just straight water every day.”

While his body transformation is an individual accomplishment — when asked if he could tell the lighter weight was working, Mykhailiuk said, “Yeah, definitely.” — the senior’s mind seems firmly fixed on the team heading into the 2017-18 season.

Mykhailiuk knows that, as a senior, his role will expand beyond basketball and he said he was ready and willing to do his part to lead the 2017-18 Jayhawks.

“All of the seniors have to be louder, more vocal and just help the younger guys learn quicker,” he said. “If we help them, they’re gonna help us.”

Asked who spoke up the most during Day 1 of boot camp 2017, Mykhailiuk provided a quick response.

“I would say it was Lagerald (Vick),” he said. “Devonte’ (Graham) was pretty loud. Everybody was trying to be loud to help each other.”


Kent Richardson 5 years, 2 months ago

If Svi shows toughness and sheds defenders like he did in the final game last season I am in all the way. Even the fuchsia mascara look in the photo above. Kind of edgy like Arrow. Ha!

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 2 months ago

losing 20 pounds doesn't sound like a good way to prepare to defend PFs. I wonder how much influence Bill Self and Andrea Hudy had on Svi's transformation this summer. Since he spent most of the summer away from the program and playing for Ukraine.

When he arrived back to join the team, Bill Self indicated that he was way behind in his training because he hadn't been lifting with Hudy all summer and that he would have a lot of work ahead of him to get into game shape before the season starts.

It makes me wonder if the NBA scouts told him that he needed to be quicker and more athletic at the combine to be an NBA guard, but Bill Self wanted him to be stronger in order to play stretch 4 next season....

Matt Tait 5 years, 2 months ago

There's no doubt that Hudy and Self are both aware of and OK with Svi's plan to play lighter. They want to play fast and Svi seems to think this will help him run with Graham, Vick and Newman, which will only help the team.

If you recall from last year, during the TCU game in the Big 12 tourney when Josh Jackson sat out, it was Vick who played Jackson's 4 spot and not Svi. My guess is that when they go that route again this year, it'll be Vick again followed by Marcus Garrett from time to time. I don't think there's ever really been much thought to counting on Svi to play that 4 spot unless it's because of foul trouble or something similar.

As for the lifting, Self did mention that he was concerned about it, but Svi's been back with the team for nearly 2 months now and just because you drop a few pounds of fat does not mean it has a negative impact on your strength. He'll be fine. And he looks good.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm curious to see him in action, because looking at his face you can see that he's really leaned out. And even at 6'8" I imagine it would be hard for him to lose 20 pounds without shedding some muscle mass. I'm sure that Hudy will have him stronger than ever by November, but he may have to put 5 or 10 pounds of muscle back on in the mean time.

Joe Joseph 5 years, 2 months ago

I think mass is overrated, especially for someone who will butter his bread on the perimeter. I imagine Svi will benefit more long-term by being quicker and more agile.

Different story if he fancied himself a post player, which he clearly does not. Nor does the KU coaching staff.

Michael Sillman 5 years, 2 months ago

If it improves his ability to stay in front of guards and wings, it's a good thing. Svi was never going to be a power forward in the NBA.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 2 months ago

well the lighter weight should help him stay in front of his man on defense. It does seem, however, that many players lose weight over the grind of the season. In that regard, I don't think he can afford to lose anymore. At 6'8', he's as lean as I would think he should be.

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