Ukrainian 17-year-old Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was so excited to play basketball at Kansas that he forgot to pack a basic necessity: pants.
When the 6-foot-8 guard, who likes to be called Svi, arrived in Lawrence, he needed to go shopping. Svi’s roommate, junior Evan Manning, said sophomore Wayne Selden and himself took Svi shopping at Urban Outfitters.
“We had to get him some pants,” Manning said. “He didn’t have many dress clothes or anything like that. So he had to get all hooked up with that. He doesn’t have much clothes to go out and eat with or hang out in at night, so we had to get him caught up.”
Svi said he showed up in Lawrence with only athletic gear to play basketball with because that’s all he cares about. Everyone on the team said Svi is really dedicated to playing basketball, and a lot them have funny stories of his love for the sport. For instance, junior Perry Ellis said Svi injured his leg on his recruiting trip on May 16, but still went to the gym everyday to shoot around.
…Manning has helped Svi acclimate to his new lifestyle as any good roommate would. Besides helping Svi get a new wardrobe, Manning said Svi asks a lot of questions about living in Lawrence and speaking the English language. Svi knows Ukrainian, Russian and French, as well, but he said French was the hardest language to learn.
…Self said Svi doesn’t speak or understand English as well as Embiid did, but the difference between Embiid and Svi is Embiid acted like he didn’t understand English, and Svi acts like he does understand.
“Joel [Embiid] understood [English] perfectly, but he always acted like he didn't,” Self said. “He was a master of that.”
…At the age of 17, Svi becomes the youngest player to ever play in the Big 12 conference. Despite still being a teenager, Manning said Svi is really mature.
“If I were to meet him and not know anything about him, I would think he’s a lot older than he is,” Manning said. “Physically, he’s a pretty strong dude, but the way he acts around people, he’s a really classy guy.”
…Self said Svi will be a big part of this Kansas team no matter how well he can communicate, and Oubre said Svi’s English won’t matter come game time.
“He doesn’t have to speak the best English because his game speaks for itself,” Oubre said.
“What a night at the K. Nothing better than baseball with your son. #TakeTheCrown,” Bill Self tweeted.
He also tweeted: “congrats to the Royals. Hope my guys learn to compete like these young fellas. So fun to watch.”
Self said he’s enjoyed following the Royals’ fortunes all season.
“To me, it’s so cool to see a bunch of young kids out there that are men having the time of their life,” he said. “I mean, they are down, 8-7, with two outs in the bottom of the 12th (in wild-card win over Oakland), and they have got a pinch runner in the game that’s the fastest guy in baseball (Jarrod Dyson). And he’s dancing at third base and he hasn’t even scored yet. You just don’t see that with other teams. I mean, to me, that’s cool. I think it’s great.”
“I love it when NBA scouts come to practice,” Self said. “I think the guys (Jayhawks) get juiced up for it. We’ve had numerous practices we’ve had anywhere from one to 10 to 12 NBA guys watching us work out. I like that.
“I also think having a combine this early in the practice season, at least with so many young kids, I’m not sure many would look very good because they’d be thinking instead of playing.”
……A student of the game, KU junior Perry Ellis says he has watched tape of a similarly sized former Jayhawk — Marcus Morris of the Phoenix Suns. Ellis is listed at 6-foot-8, 225 pounds; Morris is 6-9, 235.
“(I’m) trying to figure out, just learn from him what he did,” Ellis said.
He was reminded that Marcus and Markieff Morris recently signed a combined four-year, $52 million extension with the Suns.
“I saw that. That’s a great deal with them. It’s definitely encouraging. It shows, God willing, if you get the opportunity, you can do it,” said Ellis, who last week was named first-team preseason all Big 12.
Self said he’s primed for the start of the season.
“I personally need practice to get going. I need a routine,” he said. “Recruiting is OK, and offseason is OK and all that stuff. Going around speaking and all that stuff ... that’s OK, but I would much rather eliminate all that now and just focus on our team.”
Self said the Jayhawks would practice today through Monday and take a day off Tuesday. Then it’s back to practice Wednesday and Thursday, with Late Night in the Phog set for Friday.
“That will get us through Late Night and get us through all our recruiting, and we’ll see how it goes from there,” Self said.
…Oubre, a 6-7, 200-pound guard from New Orleans, revealed this week he has a wingspan of 7-foot-2.
“God blessed me with a wingspan that wide. I use that to the best of my ability,” he said.
“It helps me dunk, I’d say,” he added, laughing. “I don’t really have to jump, even though I love to jump. It helps me defend, be a better off-ball defender and a better basketball player. I thank God for the wingspan. I’m going to use it to the best of my ability. I guess I have an advantage. We all use our talents the best way we can.”
Fresh talent indeed exists, some of which will be difficult to keep at Kansas long.
But no one knows exactly what to pencil in for any of the new Jayhawks just yet. A year ago, the expectations for Wiggins were so astronomical that some figured that on any given night he could go for 41 points. That happened to be his season-best, at West Virginia — one of four losses KU suffered in the last seven games.
By then, Self was well aware something was amiss.
“I don’t think we were as tough and as hard as what our other teams have been,” Self said, “and I think we have recruited some tough, hard kids now.”
One problem could be the surroundings. With the recent facelift to the locker room, coupled with the construction of luxury apartments and the adoration of fans, the Jayhawks can easily sense many entitlements.
Self, however, can drive any perceived privileges right out of players. He can be that tough, that hard. With considerable depth at his disposal this season, defense will again be stressed.
No one gets overly excited about that end of the court. Instead, we like to watch players such as Wiggins go for 41.
Which was why Media Day attracted only local reporters last week. No national types were influenced to stop by. They will. Just not yet.
“Having Wiggins brought a lot of attention to us, though we are Kansas basketball and we’re going to get a lot of attention regardless,” said sophomore forward Landen Lucas. “It is definitely different and it might be a good thing. We might fly under the radar a little bit, which is weird, but compared to last year, this is definitely a change.”
LJW Keegan: Oubre is the perfect 6th man
10/6/14, 5:50 PM
As Embiid left the court, he drained a flat-footed, 1-dribble step-back corner 3, stuck his tongue out and held up a 3 goggle to the crowd.
Former Lawrence High football and track coach Bill Freeman and Kansas University athletes Charlie Hoag and Walt Wesley were among 10 individuals inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at Wichita Boathouse.
Big 12 / College News
The college basketball offseason is brutal, longer than any other major sport. But practice is already underway, meaning actual college basketball games are officially right around the corner. This year’s non-conference slate has everything you could ask for — rivalries, rematches, top-10 clashes, etc. — and many of these games happen within the first five days of the 2014-2015 season.
Here are the 25 best non-conference games. Mark your calendars:
1. Kansas vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic in Indianapolis) – Nov. 18
The Jayhawks and Wildcats meet in the nightcap of the 2014 Champions Classic just four days after the college basketball season begins. Kentucky returns Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Alex Poythress and the Harrison twins and add four more McDonald’s All Americans to that roster. Kansas, however, also brings in a highly-touted quartet that will join returners Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis. Bill Self and John Calipari have both won their national championships at the expense of the other.
7. Florida vs. Kansas – Dec. 5
In the nightcap of that SEC/Big 12 Challenge double-header, Florida and Kansas meet once again in the regular season, only this time in Allen Fieldhouse. Last season, the Gators used a 67-61 win to kick-off a 30-game winning streak that brought them to the Final Four. This game will include some new faces (Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre, etc.) and players in bigger roles (Kasey Hill, Chris Walker).
POTENTIAL IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT GAMES WE’RE HOPING TO SEE
Orlando Classic: Kansas vs. Michigan State
Marcus Foster thinks Kansas State can compete for the Big 12 title. So the dynamic sophomore guard isn't paying much attention to any of his October accolades.
Foster has been voted to the preseason All-Big 12 team, but he knows it won't matter once the season starts. And that's rapidly approaching. The Wildcats held their first practice on Friday, and their first exhibition game is Nov. 9 against Washburn.
"It's a great honor to have during the preseason, but most people have told me that a lot of guys that are on that list in the preseason aren't on there a lot of times at the end of the season," Foster said.
The Big 12 Conference has announced the lineup for its second national “State of College Athletics” Forum to further examine the issues facing college athletics. The Forum, which will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, continues the discussion that began at the inaugural Forum hosted by the Big 12 in New York City in August.
The October Forum will feature a panel of respected authorities from intercollegiate athletics, university leadership and sports journalism representing a diverse range of opinions and perspectives on the future of college athletics. The panel will address two topics: “Where Does the Money Go – The Business of College Athletics” and “Are Student Athletes Employees?” The 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and writer Jimmy Roberts, who moderated the first Forum, will also moderate the event in Washington, D.C.
Big 12 Conference
The NCAA reform plan that transfers more power to the five richest football conferences has sailed through a 60-day override period.
The organization says 27 schools requested an override of the 16-2 decision by the NCAA Board of Directors on Aug. 7 to allow the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC to unilaterally change some of the rules that have applied to all Division I schools for years. If 75 schools had voted for an override, the board would have been required to reconsider the plan.
The result of the override period was announced on Monday.
The NCAA says much of the plan goes into effect next year. It says the new governance structure "provides student-athletes with a vote at every level of decision-making in Division I."
Bradley, Drexel, Elon, Indiana State and Vermont were among the schools that requested an override.
Eventually, all great streaks are meant to come to an end. For Tom Izzo and Michigan State, one of the most mind-bending achievements in college sports was finally killed last season.
The Spartans came one game away from sending Adreian Payne, Keith Appling and company to the Final Four, something Izzo had done with every senior class in his first 19 years as head coach at Michigan State. UConn and Shabazz Napier had different ideas, upsetting the Spartans on their way to the national championship and ending the college careers of stalwarts Payne and Appling without the chance at the glory so many who came before them were able to achieve.
In a sense, the end of the streak is a time for appreciation more than grieving. The 59-year-old Izzo has taken Michigan State to six Final Fours over his career, an incredible accomplishment in any context. With the departure of his three best players from last year's team -- the two aforementioned seniors and sophomore guard Gary Harris, a first round NBA draft pick -- this year's team doesn't project as one set to reboot the streak. Even still, it would be impossibly foolish to ever count out an Izzo squad, especially a group returning a few quality veterans and headlined by star forward Branden Dawson.
Link (Orlando Classic participant)
Kevin Punter blamed it on the Bronx.
During a recent practice, the junior spotted wide-open Tennessee men’s basketball teammate Tariq Owens. Instead of a crisp chest pass, Punter opted for a higher degree of difficulty. His underhand, no-look shovel pass arrived on target. But a dish that would have drawn rave reviews on the New York courts he played on as a kid failed to impress Donnie Tyndall.
“Coach said it was too fancy,” Punter said. “In my head I’m like, yeah, maybe I need to cut that out.”
So goes the transition for Punter. Last season he was a score-first, pass-second two guard who averaged 20.3 points and 1.7 assists on his way to junior college All-American honors at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo. This season he is on track to start at point guard for the Vols.
Link (Orlando Classic participant)
Kansas is expecting a loaded group of recruits Friday night for Late Night in the Phog, sources told SNY.tv.
Among those expected are Jaylen Brown, Carlton Bragg, Brandon Ingram, Tyler Dorsey, Stephen Zimmerman, Marcus LoVett, Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum, Schnider Herard, Trae Young, Mitch Ballock, Kobi Simmons, Tyler Cook, Marques Bolden, Troy Brown and Nick Rakocevic.
Kansas is also planning to host 2015 guard Malik Newman on an official for a game, though no date has been set.
Malik Newman watched thousands of fans rush the field in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium moments after Ole Miss defeated Alabama 23-17 last Saturday.
The five-star hoops prospect has seen other SEC football games in some of the conference's biggest venues, but few experiences compare to witnessing the Rebels take down one of the top teams in the country.
"I picked the right time to visit Ole Miss," Newman said. "I had a good time. The atmosphere was great."
Newman added: "Right now, Ole Miss stands a good chance. I really like them. I just need to take my time and see what happens."
This was the Callaway standout's first visit of his senior year. Newman, 17, sat in the front row of the student section behind the goal post with Ole Miss basketball commits Donte Fitzpatrick, Terence Davis and Rasheed Brooks. While he had moved to sit with his head coach David Sanders towards the end of the game, Newman was in the thick of the madness through the fourth quarter and was even spotted holding up a sign that read 'Roll Tears Roll.'
…While Newman won't release his five finalists until the start of his senior season in early November, his visit serves as a strong indicator of his thoughts on the Rebels.
"I actually can see myself there," he said. "The team is really good and they're winning. Like Coach (Kennedy) said, I think I can be their piece to get them over the hump."
Newman had planned to take an official visit to Texas A&M this weekend but will reschedule for another time.
“Beyond the Game” video features on Newman
Kansas is still looking for its first verbal commitment in the 2015 class, but it’s an intriguing recruiting year for the Jayhawks. KU has zero scholarship seniors on the roster, and many of its recruiting needs will hinge on the future of players that could possibly depart early for the NBA Draft. One position to watch, though: Center. Self said last summer that he would potentially like to sign a couple of big men.
Jaylen Brown, the No. 2-ranked basketball prospect in the country who will be attending Friday’s Late Night in the Phog, recently completed in-home visits with coaches from five schools — Kansas University, Kentucky, UCLA, Georgia and Georgia Tech.
The 6-foot-7 small forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia, told Eric Bossi of Rivals.com he “got good vibes from all five of those coaches. I appreciate everything they told me.”
He singled out messages provided by KU’s Bill Self and UK’s John Calipari.
“They were trying to sell me on going to their school, but like coach Calipari and coach Self told me, it’s not going to be easy. They said: ‘It’s going to be hard when you get here. You’re not going to like us. There are going to be days you feel like you want to go home. If you are that type of kid to go home this school isn’t for you.’ I appreciate them for telling me that,” Brown said.
Jaylen Brown, the nation’s No. 2 overall basketball prospect, has now officially set up three of his recruiting trips.
The 6-foot-7 forward from Wheeler High School will go on official visits to Kansas on Oct. 10 and Kentucky on Oct. 17. Then the 5-star is tentatively scheduled to tour UCLA on Nov. 15 but told USA Today that “I’m thinking about switching that date.”
What about Georgia Tech and UGA? Brown didn’t mention anything specifically about visiting the two in-state schools, which is obviously not good news for either. However, Brown did say “there will be more” visits than the three he’s scheduled.
Where is Brown in his decision process? “I haven’t cut my list or narrowed anything down and, honestly, if another school wants to come in they can,” Brown told the website. “Whoever wants to jump in they can definitely do that. I won’t have any hard feelings that you haven’t recruited me as hard yet because I understand that it’s a business.”
Also, remember former Miller Grove High School basketball standout Tony Parker? Brown gave Parker, who is now at UCLA, a shout-out, saying, “I’ve been having some interesting conversations with the coaches here lately; like UCLA always tells me about the funny stuff Tony Parker does over there. Tony is from my area and that’s my man! The coaches call him the big Kevin Hart! That guy is crazy; he’s doing his thing out there.”
One other big item of interest: Jaylen Brown said he is likely to make his college decision on April 1 at the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago.
Marcus LoVett, a 5-11 senior point guard from Chicago’s Morgan Park High, will attend Friday’s Late Night in the Phog on an official recruiting visit, Rivals.com reports. Lovett is ranked No. 90 in the recruiting Class of 2015. He’s also considering Indiana, UCLA and others.
Come to Chicago, play in the Chicago Public League.
Put on a few dazzling displays, turn some heads, get people talking and watch your rep rise. Pretty simple recipe to follow.
Colleague Michael O’Brien penned an article earlier this week titled: “Is Marcus LoVett Chicago’s next great guard?”
Here’s the answer: Yes.
Already with a catchy new nickname, “Bright Lights,” the Marcus LoVett hype is going to quickly shift into another gear once we get out of these rather hidden fall open gyms and, pardon the pun, the lights go on. It will be deserved and will only get bigger after taking in LoVett’s dynamic play this past week.
When a player can do that –– impress quickly and emphatically with no reservations –– in just a couple weeks of open gyms and one fall shootout, there is a reason to get excited. But that’s the type of basketball talent LoVett possesses, and it’s why the 5-11 senior is the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s No. 2 prospect in Illinois in the Class of 2015.
…Everyone that has taken in a Morgan Park open gym has come away spewing superlatives, from myself to college coaches to Mustangs head coach Nick Irvin. LoVett continued to dazzle this weekend at the Back to School Jam at Whitney Young. He was in control, competed and played unselfishly.
“He might be the best point guard in the country,” says Irvin. “He could be one of the best ever to come out of Chicago, and he should be a McDonald’s All-American.”
LoVett, an enormously talented and gifted point guard with plenty of flair, is a super talent, arguably the best guard out of the Chicago Public League since Derrick Rose. There are things he does with the basketball that genuinely defies description for a high school point guard.
He has a coolness and brings an electricity at the same time as a showman who plays like a tornado. But you quickly realize he’s in full control and capable, that it’s just the speed of the game he plays at and style he plays with –– naturally.
…Kansas offered LoVett this past week and plenty of other high-major programs will as well, whether it be before the November signing period or during the season if he chooses to play out his senior year.
“I’m definitely wide open recruiting wise,” says LoVett. “I’m open to anyone who’s interested in me and is interested in having me on their campus, getting to know me.”
Cheick Diallo’s second trip to Iowa State was a productive one, according to the five-star 2015 prospect’s guardian.
“He really liked it a lot,” Tidiane Drame said in a phone conversation with The Tribune. “He’s got a great connection with (ISU coach) Fred (Hoiberg). He loves Fred and Iowa State’s style of play.
“The visit went really well. He’s really happy with it.”
Diallo is a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali who currently attends Our Savior New American School in Long Island, N.Y. He’s a consensus top-10 player nationally in his class thanks to his size, athleticism, skill and motor.
One of ISU’s selling points to Diallo was their style of play. The Cyclones ranked 16th in tempo last season and were the eighth-fastest offensive team in the country, according to KenPom.com. They also led Power 5 conference schools in scoring with 83 points per game.
“Cheick likes to get out and run,” Drame said. ”ISU showed him how he’d work in their system.”
The Cyclones’ other sales pitch came in the form of their ability to put Diallo in the best position for him to enter the 2016 NBA Draft.
“Fred led the NBA in shooting,” Drame said, referencing 48.3 percent 3-point shooting year Hoiberg had in his final NBA season. “Cheick is a good shooter, but Fred can help him work to be even better.”
ISU also presented a calendar to Diallo, detailing a regime that spelled out their player development plan for him that they believe could potentially make him the top pick in the draft after one college season.
“They showed us a game plan for Cheick starting with his first day on campus,” Drame said. “It had everything from the weight room to the court.”
Diallo, who made an unofficial visit to ISU last fall, has now been official visits to Kentucky, Kansas, Pittsburgh and ISU and has one scheduled to St. John’s for later this month. He’s likely to sign in the spring period next year.
“Cheick wants to find the school that will help him to be his best,” Drame said.
Burlison: USA camp could prove 2015 McDonald’s preview
My Late Night in the Phog videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on YouTube