May 21, 2014, 2:10 PM EST
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, one of the most intriguing European prospects to come along since Ricky Rubio, has decided that he will head to Kansas for at least two seasons.
“Obviously, this is great news for us,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in a release announcing the commitment. “He is 16 years old and will turn 17 in June, but his skill level, knowledge and aptitude for the game are way beyond his years.”
Mykhailiuk is a 6-foot-8 wing who is still just 16 years old. He played at the Nike Hoop Summit in April and was the youngest player in the history of the event. A native of Ukraine, Mykhailiuk played big minutes in the Ukranian professional league this past season. But he never signed a contract specifically in order to retain his collegiate eligibility.
The plan is for Mykhailiuk to spend two seasons at Kansas before entering the NBA Draft, as that’s how long it would take for him to be 19 years old and eligible to declare.
“I liked everything [about Kansas],” Mykhailiuk said in the release. “From the history, the strength program and especially the coaches – everything. It’s Kansas. KU has players every year. Coach Self has had so many players go to the NBA. That’s an important thing.”
Mykhailiuk’s an above average athlete whose strength is in his ability to shoot the ball. He’s a capable passer and can jump passing lanes defensively, but he still needs to add some strength to better finish around the basket and be a more capable defender. That’s understandable, however. In Ukraine, high schoolers graduate at the equivalent of what is 11th grade here.
“He is a guy that can play all three positions on the perimeter,” Self said. “He allows us to be more versatile next year and certainly, there would be few people that would shoot it better than him.”
According to an NBA scout that has seen Mykhailiuk play, if he was in the Class of 2015 or 2016, which is likely where he would be classified if he played high school ball in the states, he would be a top ten recruit. He compared him to Nik Stasukas.
Mykhailiuk joins a loaded perimeter attack for the Jayhawks, as he’ll likely be stuck behind Kelly Oubre, Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene.
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