Kansas coach Bill Self had high praise for sophomore guard Svi Mykhailiuk following Mykhailiuk’s 17-point effort against Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon.
“I was really pleased with him. He is on an uptick, no question,” Self said following No. 2 KU’s 67-58 victory. “This is the best ball he’s played since he’s been here; not just because he’s made shots. He just looks more comfortable.”
Against Texas Tech, Mykhailiuk was 6-for-7 from the floor and 5-for-5 from three-point range. That continues a hot shooting streak — he’s made 9 of 11 long-range attempts in his last three games.
“I’m just trying to keep shooting the ball like I shoot it all the time,” Mykhailiuk said. “That’s how it is.”
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Mykhailiuk also has shown better passing ability, especially in pick-and-roll situations. He appears to be comfortable taking his time to read the defense, and when two players commit to him, he's quick to zip passes to KU’s big men.
“He looks like a pro to me,” Self said. “The way he played at K-State coming in, those were as good-of-looking plays that anybody’s made for us this year. Jumping up and shooting threes in transition, and confident.”
KU guard Frank Mason says teammates have been waiting for this type of production.
“We always believed in Svi,” Mason said. “Every day, even in practice, we try to tell him to keep his confidence. We tell him he is a great player and a great shooter to try to keep him going, because we know he is a huge part of our team.”
KU junior guard Wayne Selden had a tough shooting game, scoring three points on 1-for-8 shooting. That included a 0-for-4 mark on three-pointers.
“I thought his energy level was better,” Self said. “I thought he tried too hard today. I thought he was pressing today. I think he would probably tell you the same thing. The shots didn’t look smooth. They looked like they were a little out of rhythm.”
Following a 33-point game against Kentucky on Jan. 30, Selden has scored seven points or fewer in six of KU’s last eight games.
“We would like to see him be more consistent and be a 15-point-a-game scorer,” Self said. “If he does that, I think that’ll change the entire complexion of our team.”
Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith was asked if he thought he’d ever see another team win 12 straight conference titles in a power conference like KU has.
“I didn’t think I’d see it now,” Smith said. “It’s amazing what Bill Self has done.”
Self and Smith have emerged as top candidates for this year’s Big 12 coach of the year, along with Texas’ Shaka Smart.
“I think he deserves coach of the year,” Smith said of Self. “I think he’s done a fantastic job.”