KU’s Svi Mykhailiuk will stay in NBA Draft if he knows he’s ‘going to be picked’
By Matt Schoch Special to The Star
For Svi Mykhailiuk, it’s pretty simple.
“If I know I’m going to get picked,” the Kansas shooter said, “I’m probably going to stay.”
The Ukrainian guard is in Chicago this week for the NBA Draft combine, hoping to get that guarantee for next month’s draft before making a final decision by May 24 whether to stay in the draft or return to Lawrence for his senior year.
After meetings with Houston, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers this week, he said that promise has not yet come, and no more interviews had yet been scheduled for the rest of the week.
Mykhailiuk’s first-day showing at the Quest Multisport Complex featured some good and some bad.
He measured at 6-foot-7½ with shoes and shot the ball well in drills, hitting 78 percent on spot-up shooting, among the best out of those tested. He also shot 50 percent off the dribble.
In 5-on-5 action, he air balled two jump shots early, but recovered with a stretch of three straight made 3-pointers in the second half as his team topped former KU teammate Frank Mason’s group in the scrimmage, 82-64.
“I just found my stroke and just kept shooting,” said Mykhailiuk, who told reporters he models his game after Klay Thompson and Manu Ginobili.
Mykhailiuk, however, sprained his left ankle late, which he said hurt him during agility and speed drills. His lane agility time of 12.40 seconds was in line with average post players, while his vertical leap of 33.0 inches tied for 27th of the 43 players tested on day one.
He said he was hoped to recover well enough for a good showing on Friday’s second and final day but he wound up sitting out of those workouts.
Mykhailiuk said he hoped to show off more driving and ball-handling capability, which he did not do on Thursday.
“What I didn’t show at Kansas,” Mykhailiuk said of what he needs to show at the combine. “Just be more aggressive, just do more than shoot, drive the ball more and be confident and be more myself.”
Mykhailiuk is one of 14 players in Chicago who has not yet signed with an agent and could return to school.
“I really don’t know yet, but I’m just trying to go through the whole process and see the feedback and make my decision,” he said. “You can ask them and they’re going to tell you what they think. You just want to find a good fit.”
At Kansas, Mykhailiuk would enter a crowded backcourt on what should again be one of the country’s best teams, featuring returners Devonte Graham, Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick, along with newcomer Marcus Garrett and Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe joining coach Bill Self’s Jayhawks.
“This is going to be a great team, and I think I would help it a lot,” Mykhailiuk said.
Before the combine, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com did informal polling of NBA executives, with the consensus being that Mykhailiuk should stay in school.
But it only takes one team to change his mind.
ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said before the combine that his “gut feeling” is that Mykhailiuk will stay in the draft.
“My sense with him is he’s not going to come back,” said Fraschilla, the former St. John’s and New Mexico coach. “I have nothing to base that on, and (if) he’s a draft pick, and then he’s fighting for his life (to make a team) like everybody is.”
Mykhailiuk said his preference is to stay in the United States and not explore a career overseas.
The question now is, will that be in the Big 12 or as a professional?