A bit on the shy side during his freshman year at Kansas University, 18-year-old Ukraine native Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is communicating more freely and fluently this semester.
“I feel better. I’ve been here one year so I know how everything is going, how everything is working. I know the coaches and what they want from me. I know the team. I know how I can help the team,” said the 6-foot-8 shooting guard in a Monday meeting with the media after a session of Boot Camp conditioning.
“My teammates also said my language is getting better. I think of better words,” Mykhailiuk added, smiling.
Proof that English is becoming second nature — instead of a second language to Mykhailiuk — came during Monday’s Boot Camp session.
Svi offered spirited words of encouragement to freshman guard Lagerald Vick, who has never faced anything as tough as an hour’s worth of non-stop conditioning before.
“If someone is not getting in line for the suicides (sprints), like Lagerald didn’t get in line, I just had to get back and push him so he could make it,” Mykhailiuk said.
“Boot Camp is like a team camp. There’s a lot of energy. We are helping each other, pushing to get through it.”
LJW (video with Svi and Frank Mason at the link)
Mikhelson once coached Mykhailiuk during his days with a club team in Cherkasy, Ukraine. For a few weeks this summer, they reconnected over old drills and long workouts.
“I can tell he put in the extra work,” says Kansas guard Frank Mason, who was busy helping the Jayhawks win gold while Mykhailiuk toiled back on campus.
…Mykhailiuk, who is listed at 6 feet 8, says he weighs close to 207 now, up 17 pounds from his playing weight of 190 last season. He is more comfortable with the language, too — more conversational, less nervous and more likely to engage with his teammates and in his classes.
“I’ve learned some slang words and academic words,” Mykhailiuk says.
…Mason calls Mykhailiuk the kind of player who will put up “unlimited shots throughout the night.” KU players are welcome to use their practice facility, which sits adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse, late into the night. Mykhailiuk is the kind of player who will test the limits of that late-night policy.
“Svi has been working hard since he’s been here,” Mason says, “working on every aspect of his game.”
Revisit the World University Games
Mason was selected the Finals MVP as he guided USA to the gold medal, while Selden was named the World University Games Best Player. Both guards were named to the five-member World University Games First Team, while Ellis was selected to the second team.
USA defeats Germany for Gold
USA defeats Russia
USA defeats Lithuania
Former Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is returning to the San Antonio Spurs in a player-personnel role, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Vaughn will replace Trajan Langdon, who recently accepted a front-office job with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
It is one of the most impressive runs in college sports: Kansas has won at least a share of 11 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships. If you think the streak will end this year, well, don’t think that. Because it’s probably going to continue. The Jayhawks return one first-team All-Big 12 performer (Perry Ellis), one second-team All-Big 12 performer (Frank Mason III) and one All-Big 12 honoree (Wayne Selden) from a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and won at least 25 games for the 10th consecutive season. Kansas also welcomes in a recruiting class featuring three top-50 prospects, although power forward Cheick Diallo has yet to receive clearance from the NCAA.
…10. Oklahoma’s experience
The Sooners’ prospects for this season got a lot better in April, when Buddy Hield announced that he would stay another year in Norman. Hield was a likely first-round pick; as a senior this season he’ll be a frontrunner for national player of the year. He and point guard Jordan Woodard will form one of the best backcourt. Down low, Ryan Spangler will lead a young but talented frontcourt featuring sophomore Khadeem Lattin, redshirt freshman Jamuni McNeace and 7-foot true freshman Akolda Manyang. In the early going, Lon Kruger will lean heavily on Hield and Spangler as the other players—particularly in the post—settle into their roles.
…4. 30-second shot clock.
The 30-second clock won’t singularly solve the plodding offensive pace that has plagued college basketball for the past couple of seasons, but it is a sign that the sport is open to change. The interesting thing here will be to see if this change actually helps offenses or defenses more. SI’s Luke Winn explained in June how teams like San Diego State and Florida, which use token fullcourt pressure on the ballhandler, could be in the best position to exploit the new changes. Expect a few more end-of-shot-clock heaves early this season as teams adjust to not being able to walk the ball up the floor and to not being able to run three or four offensive sets. And expect Virginia’s opponents to be frustrated even more than they were under the 35-second clock.
SI 64 reasons to be excited for the 2015-16 college hoops season (Nos. 16-1)
College rivalries swept into the Kansas Secretary of State's 2015 State Fair Opinion Poll.
The poll conducted in the Meadowlark Building during the Kansas State Fair asked which is the most popular men's college sports program in Kansas.
K-State football, checked 29 percent of those filling out the survey.
University of Kansas men's basketball, checked another 29 percent.
Wichita State University's men's basketball came in third, the choice of 24 percent. "I'm not a big sports fan" was the option marked by 18 percent.
Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday that the tension regarding the treatment of big-time college athletes remains such that he can foresee the possibility of a prominent team being set to play a significant game and then choosing not to play in protest.
Speaking here at the National Press Club for an event billed as “The Current Environment of College Athletics,” Bowlsby also weighed in on a variety of other ongoing issues, including testing for performance-enhancing drugs, which he said needs to improve; the transfer rate among Division I men’s basketball players, which he called embarrassing; and football games being played on week nights (“You can’t play college football on Tuesday nights and say you care” about education.
He also spoke about sales of alcohol at college sports events, schools’ decision-making in their athletics finances, conference expansion and the proliferation of fantasy sports games and advertising connected to college sports.
…But his most eye-opening comments came in relation to ongoing legal battles about what athletes can receive while playing college sports and the recent effort to allow Northwestern University scholarship football players to unionize — an effort that ended last month when the National Labor Relations Board decided not to accept jurisdiction over petition to let those players organize.
“I’m glad the unionization process has cooled for right now,” Bowlsby said. “But the fact is — and it probably will be in the sport of men’s basketball — there will be a day in the future when the popcorn is popped, the TV cameras are there, the fans are in the stands and the team decides they’re not going to play. Mark my words. We will see that in the years ahead. We saw some of it for other reasons in the ’70s, but I really believe that we aren’t finished with the compensation issue or with the employee-vs.-student issue.”
Bowlsby later said he doesn’t think such an action is close to happening, “but the tension in the system isn’t going to go away anytime soon.”
…Conference expansion: He said the Big 12 “no active plans to add members” but has a composition committee comprised of three school presidents “and we constantly monitor the environment. … There are some good reasons to get bigger. There are some really good reasons to stay small.”
However, in the larger picture, he cautioned: “I think the jury is still out as to whether these larger alignments really deliver anything other than television viewers and money. I think in the end, we’ve created a television product that is very difficult to compete against -- but if the quality of the TV product results in people staying home because they’re less interested, we will have lost significantly even though the money has flowed in.”
Kentucky and LSU will host NBA Combines in mid-October, according to multiple reports.
Kentucky will run a combine for the second straight year from Oct. 11-12, while LSU will run one for the first year Oct. 13-14.
Maryland finished the 2013-14 season with a 17-15 record in the ACC and then saw four players transfer out of the program.
Entering this season the Terps are the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten title and are a consensus top-5 team in the nation, with ESPN installing them as the preseason No. 1 in August.
How did all this happen so quickly?
“I think it just kind of all came together,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon told ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg on their weekly Podcast. “We had a really good recruiting class. We have some older guys, Jake Layman’s been a part of the program for a while. We’ve added some transfers that are really good players. It just kind of all came together. Guys stuck around and didn’t go to the NBA…
“And we were kind of the hot thing with the media and everybody voting for us, so we’re excited about. I like the No. 1 better than anything else. It’s been really good for us. When ESPN came out what that poll, people look at us differently. We really embraced it.”
Forget Bill Self. Does the Kansas men’s basketball team have a new recruiting weapon?
KU target Mitch Lightfoot, a power forward from Gilbert, Ariz., offered a glimpse at that weapon last week, sending out a Twitter post that included a photo of letters from young Jayhawks fans with the caption “Not every day do you have 30 second graders write you letters to tell you to go to a school.” The post drew more than 50 retweets and favorites.
Lightfoot returned home from an official visit at Kansas over the weekend. Ranked as the 118th-best prospect in the 2016 class, Lightfoot has Kansas City roots and a short list of possible destinations: He’s also considering Arizona, St. John’s, Stanford and Utah.
There is, of course, no NCAA rule against cute second graders in the organization’s vast web of bylaws, there is a NCAA rule that prohibits “boosters” from contacting prospective recruits on behalf of a school. According to the NCAA, a person becomes a booster if he or she has “Assisted or has been requested by university staff to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.”
In this case, though, one of Lightfoot’s young cousins in the Kansas City area was behind the letter-writing campaign. So unless one of those second-graders has donated money to KU athletics, the letters can continue.
De’Aaron Fox, the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2016, enjoyed his official visit to LSU over the weekend and will host Kentucky coach John Calipari Monday night for an in-home visit before taking his next official to Louisville this coming weekend.
“Coach [Johnny] Jones and [David] Patrick made us feel like we were right at home, they were real welcoming,” Cypress Lakes (TX) coach Emmanuel Olatunbosun said Monday by phone. “We got a good feeling when we got there.”
...“I think anywhere he goes coaches won’t lock him into one position,” Coach O said. “He’s basically just a playmaker.”
...Fox has already had home visits with LSU, Kansas, Arizona and N.C. State, with Kentucky up on Monday.
He has officials scheduled for Louisville (Sept. 25-27), Kansas (Oct. 9-11), Kentucky (Oct. 16-18) and Arizona (Nov. 6-8).
He is expected to decide sometime after those visits.
“That’s the goal, it’s a feel thing for him,” Coach O said. “He’s not going to draw it out if he doesn’t have to.”
How is De'Aaron handling this process? There's a ton of attention on him.
I think he's being extremely mature about it. I don't think there are too many kids that age who get that kind of publicity and handle it the way he does. He is just so humble about it. He could probably walk down the hallway and you don't know who he is. As far as recruiting, he's a student of the game. He knows the history of the programs, of everyone who's recruiting him. He's actually going through the process. It's not a situation where he already has a school in mind and he's just making coaches come in to talk to him so he can say they did. He's going to pick the best fit.
Where did the perception that Kansas and Kentucky are in the lead come from? Is there any truth to that?
It's a social media deal, because before he dropped his list, everybody said he was going to Texas. Well, the University of Texas didn't make the list for whatever reason. It's not that they didn't do their work or anything like that, it just wasn't the right fit for De'Aaron. It's just everyone saying where they want the kid to go. Like, 'I think it's a blue-blood program and he's automatically going there.' That's just social media. Everybody's just guessing.
Part of it probably comes from -- (Fox) had an interview where he said Kentucky is every kid's dream school. He didn't say it was his; he just said it was a school that every kid would love to play for. Who doesn't like Kansas? Who doesn't like Kentucky? Who doesn't like Louisville for that matter?
Who is helping De'Aaron through the recruiting process?
He's got a tight circle. It's his mom, dad, brother and myself. It's just a feel thing for him. If he likes somewhere, and he's comfortable with it, he'll decide. He's not an early or late deal. He's not going to draw it out.
Do you have a sense of what factors will weigh the most in his decision?
Him being the type of player he is, the first thing he'd think about is style of play. But then again, he can play any style of play. He can play fast and he can slow. It's his best fit as long as he's happy. He can kind of say where he wants to go to school because of how good of a player he is -- he can fit anywhere. He's a very articulate kid. He knows what he wants to do. A lot of it just has to be a great feel for him. Nobody's really swaying him one way or the other.
Louisville CJ Q&A with Fox’s HS coach
The coaches recruiting me have been coming out strong to see me and they all say that they can’t wait to get me on campus to show me the atmosphere, break down film, experience everything that they have to offer and everything like that so I’m excited about that.
I had a great visit to Wake Forest last weekend!
I’m going to Kansas for Late Night in the Phog. After that I’m going to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness, North Carolina and I’ll end up at Duke for Halloween weekend!
I can’t wait! I know all of the visits are gonna be crazy!
Duke just got back from the White House meeting with President Obama after winning the national title so it was cool to hear Coach K’s stories from that day. He said they shut everything down for them to come in. I definitely wondered what it was like to meet President Obama so that was an interesting talk.
Coach (Roy) Williams and Coach (Bill) Self came by last week and I had great meetings with both of them. Coach Self is just a cool guy and Coach Williams is cool too. I have great relationships with both of them. Of course Coach (Danny) Manning is my guy too and Coach (John) Calipari was in last week and we had a great talk. It was definitely the best talk that I’ve ever had with Coach Cal. It was just me and him and no one else.
I know I’ve told you guys this before but this is gonna be a tough.
USA Today Harry Giles Diary
With Duke as the likely destination for Giles and Edrice "Bam" Adebayo possibly joining Dennis Smith Jr. at N.C. State, the Blue Devils and Wolfpack are in position to benefit from a uniquely special in-state class and be big players on the national stage in 2016-17.
UNC can reside in a tier below its rivals and still be relevant nationally if Robinson, the 6-10 Bradley and others mesh well with, at minimum, power forward Isaiah Hicks, point guard Joel Berry, wing Theo Pinson, point guard Nate Britt and shooting guard Kenny Williams. UNC coach Roy Williams has even delved into international recruiting with the pursuit of Finnish power forward Lauri Markkanen, whose father played for Williams in 1989-90.
An NCAA decision regarding potential penalties against the men's basketball program should arrive after the 2015-16 season and before the 2016-17 season, creating a clear point of demarcation between UNC's residency as a blue-blooded title contender and a future with some uncertainty.
Recruiting success within the Class of 2016, even if the prospects are multi-year college players instead of one-and-done candidates from North Carolina high schools, provides the Tar Heels with at least a sturdy foundation for the storm that could sweep through Chapel Hill.
Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is planning to meet with five-star Class of 2016 forward T.J. Leaf on Tuesday, a source confirmed Saturday.
Leaf is a 6-foot-9 California native who ranks among the top 25 prospects in the country across the four major recruiting sites. He verbally committed to Arizona in November 2014, but he backed off his pledge in early August, saying he wanted to explore his options.
…Scores of programs started recruiting Leaf again after Leaf's decommitment, and he named a top eight on Aug. 9: California, Gonzaga, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, San Diego State, Texas and UCLA. He has official visits scheduled for California, Kansas and UCLA in October. UCLA is considered the favorite to land him.
After having a good start to the 2016 recruiting cycle, Cuonzo Martin is looking to add a big man to the class. As of now, his main target is TJ Leaf, a top-15 player out of Southern California. However, there are some very intriguing options behind TJ Leaf, one of which is center Schnider Herard, a top-4 center in the class out of Prestonwood Christian in Texas.
The main player Cal has to worry about here is Kansas, who seems to be the early favorite in the Herard sweepstakes.
…Herard's road to becoming an elite recruit wasn't an easy one, however. He grew up in Haiti, a country where poverty and crime are prevalent. In addition, he had to endure the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that measured a 7.0 on the Richter scale and caused lots of destruction. He recalls walking outside and seeing people covered in dirt, crying. He also mentions that he has people back home that depend on him.
At 6-10, 240, Herard is a force to be reckoned with in the paint and is extremely athletic for his size. Herard has no trouble running the floor and slamming down putback dunks. More importantly though, he has an impressive post-up game, and seems to score at will when he gets the ball on the block. His hook shot and post moves are at a high enough level that he could play from day 1 on campus.
Herard would likely stay for a few years and would provide depth at the center spot for years to come.
Oklahoma State's class of 2016 commitment list, a clean slate for the longest time, is quickly taking shape.
In a span of 24 hours, Cowboys basketball coaches picked up two commits, the latest coming Monday from 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward Cameron McGriff. Sunday, 6-5 Florida shooting guard Thomas Dziagwa gave OSU its first pledge in the class.
McGriff, a senior at South Grand Prairie High in the Dallas area, visited Arkansas two weeks ago and was considered by some national analysts as a lean to the Razorbacks. But McGriff made an official visit to Stillwater last weekend, then after a week of contemplating, went with the Cowboys.
Coaches from Arizona, Utah and North Carolina are visiting Finnish power forward Lauri Markkanen, Helinski Academy coach Hanno Möttölä told SNY.tv.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller and Utah head man Larry Krystkowiak have recently seen Markkanen, while UNC head coach Roy Williams and assistant Steve Robinson are due in next weekend.
Markkanen will visit Utah Oct. 11, North Carolina Oct. 13-14 and Arizona Oct. 16-17.
Markkanen averaged 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds at the recent FIBA U18 World Championships.
“Big, skilled power forward on the NCAA track,” writes DraftExpress.com.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2015-16)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube