Kansas basketball guard Svi Mykhailiuk announced Wednesday night on his Instagram account that he has decided to remove his name from the 2017 NBA Draft and return to KU for his senior season.
“Senior year gonna be fun,” the 6-foot-8 senior-to-be from Cherkasy, Ukraine, wrote on the social media site a few hours after he took part in an individual workout with the New York Knicks in the Big Apple.
“Senior year. Here we gooo!” he added a few minutes later on Twitter.
Mykhailiuk declared for the draft on April 12 but did not sign with an agent. He attended the NBA Combine that was held May 9-14 in Chicago, where he performed well in shooting drills, but then injured his ankle and was unable to play in the second of two combine games.
He had until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday to withdraw from the draft and be able to return to college for his final campaign, beating the deadline by more than four hours.
“I had a lot of feedback and I decided to come back,” said Mykhailiuk, who also worked out for the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans after the combine. “I saw what I need to improve on next year and be a better player. I look forward to being with my teammates and help my team win.”
KU coach Bill Self told The Star on Wednesday night that “Svi got good feedback (from the NBA). The feedback is he’d have a much better chance to help himself if he came back to KU and played his senior year. He is still young. I don’t know if people realize he is 19 years old (he turns 20 on June 10). Age will not hurt him (in the 2018 draft).
“He learned a lot. I just spoke to him. I don’t think he’s happy, but he’s not disappointed either. I think he’d have been drafted, but hopefully he will improve on some of the things he needs to work on and be in position to be a first-round pick (in the 2018 draft).”
Self said Mykhailiuk was not 100 percent healed from his ankle injury.
“He didn’t get a chance to work out for as many teams as he’d have liked,” Self said. “He’s not able to go full speed right now.”
Self said the Jayhawks, who have a full allotment of 13 players on the 2017-18 roster “were done now (recruiting the class of 2017).”
“This adds to our depth. With Devonté (Graham), Svi, Lagerald (Vick), Malik (Newman), that’s four proven guards that are pretty good. Devonté is going to have the ball in his hands. You throw Marcus Garrett and Sam Cunliffe in there, that’s a pretty good perimeter,” Self noted.
Mykhailiuk averaged 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals while averaging 27.3 minutes per game in 36 games last season for 31-5 KU (31-5). He started 25 games.
The two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection ranked eighth in the conference in three-point field-goal percentage (38.9) and eighth in three-point field goals made at 1.9 per game. Mykhailiuk made three or more threes in 11 games. He cashed four or more threes in four contests.
Self said that in the final analysis, he was pleased Mykhailiuk was able to attend the combine and test the draft waters, so to speak.
“This is what the rules are designed for, for him to do what he did,” Self said. “I think it’s good for us (that he’s returning), good all the way around (receiving info on strengths and weaknesses from NBA officials).”
Azubuike close to return
Self said sophomore-to-be forward Udoka Azubuike should be released for full speed basketball “next week.”
Azubuike had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist in early January.