You may have heard on Sunday that Kansas signee Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is slated to represent his native Ukraine at the upcoming FIBA World Cup. For Mykhailiuk, you can imagine that it’s something of a dream. He is just 17, still growing into his 6-foot-6 frame, and now poised to play in the world’s most prestigious basketball tournament — outside the Olympics or the NBA playoffs.
You also can not blame KU coach Bill Self for being a little nervous about the whole thing. Now Mykhailiuk, who signed with KU in May, will not be arriving on campus until at least the second week of September. And it could be longer.
“I’m happy for him,” Self said Monday before hosting his annual golf tournament for the Lawrence Boy Scouts. “I’m a little concerned that he’s going to come in well behind, which he will. And without putting too much pressure on him, I was hoping he’d be really ready to be a major contributor (in) mid-November. It may take him a little bit more time.”
The re-branded FIBA World Cup — previously known as the FIBA World Championship — runs Aug. 30 through Sept. 14 in Spain. Ukraine, in Group C, will play five group games, finishing against the United States on Sept. 4 in Bilbao, Spain.
Mykhailiuk, who played in the U-18 European Championships last month, was expected to spend the month of August practicing with the Ukraine senior national team, coached by former NBA coach Mike Fratello. After conversations with Fratello, Self expected Mykhailiuk to be done with his national team duties by late August and head to Kansas soon after.
“(Fratello) said: ‘I really doubt he can make the team, because he’ll be going against men, but let him hang out over here and he’ll get some good training,’” Self said. “And I guess they trained him well enough that he made the team.”
For Mykhailiuk, it’s a been an invaluable summer. He’s spent the past month practicing and playing against Ukrainian professionals — some nearly 10 years his senior. But in a perfect world, Self would have preferred that Mykhailiuk be in Lawrence for the summer, working out with KU strength coach Andrea Hudy.
“I’m more concerned about him strength-wise,” Self said. “He wasn’t here with Andrea all summer, and of course he needs it. He weights 193 pounds, but still yet he’s not strong, and you don’t get strong overnight. It takes time.”
Mykhailiuk is expected to miss the first couple of weeks of class — Monday was first day of the fall semester at KU — but Self says Mykhailiuk will be enrolled in classes and could possibly do some online work in the next few weeks.
“He’s a really, really bright kid,” Self said. “I mean, really bright. … He’s in that Sasha Kaun-type category, so I would still predict he’ll be a 3.5 student by the end of the semester.”
Point guard talk
It still August, which means it’s the time of year for pondering lineups and experimentation. Self on Monday repeated the idea of playing with a four-guard lineup this coming season. Not all the time, of course. But perhaps every so often.
Self likes the idea of playing multiple point guards, and his roster is deep at the wing position.
For now, he can envision a combination of sophomores Frank Mason and Conner Frankamp and freshmen Devonte’ Graham seeing the court together.
“You could see two of those three playing together a lot,” Self said. “And then that makes us real small, so your deepest position is wing. So I could see one of our wings being a four-man and playing real small.
“I think it’d be really hard to guard; I just don’t know if we could guard anybody.”
Boot camp talk
Kansas’ annual boot camp is tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 15. The date, Self said, could change based on recruiting needs.
“As important as basketball is,” Self said, “recruiting still takes priority over that.”
The start of boot camp was moved up last year after new rules allowed programs to begin practice close to two weeks earlier than usual.