College basketball is used to seeing their share of 19 to 20 year-olds who have a lot of maturing to do. However, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is on a whole different level. He is currently 16-years-old and will be 17 when he arrives on a college campus in the fall. The 6-foot-6 guard is considered to be an elite level prospect from the Ukraine. Many are probably wondering how he would be eligible for college in the class of 2014. This is due to the fact that students in the Ukraine tend to finish high school after the 11th grade. All he has to do to be eligible to play college basketball is achieve a qualifying test score. He is a viewed as one of the top European prospects in the last few years and started garnering interest after his participation in the Nike Hoops Summit last month. It was here where he declared he was potentially interested in playing college ball in the States.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk currently plays for the Cherkaski Mavpy team from the Ukrainian Basketball Super League. He excelled at the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, producing a line of 25.2 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. He ended up making the All-Tournament team for this tournament. This drew comparisons to another international player in the NBA, Manu Ginobili. There is not a lot out there on him, but he is said to already have an advanced game and playing style, despite his young age. Fran Fraschilla even went far enough to call him “one of the 10 best prospects in the class of 2015.” With a recruit like this, he is sure to draw attention from some big-time programs. This is particularly the case for schools that may have a scholarship open or be looking to add another piece for next season. Here are some of the schools that have already expressed their interest and are acting on it.
With the transfers of both Naadir Tharpe and Andrew White, Kansas is left with an open scholarship. Bill Self has already brought in two huge recruits, with Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander, but he is not going to pass up a chance to add to his class. The 6’6″ combo guard would be another wing player to add to the rotation. Self has been successful utilizing international prospects previously with Sasha Kaun and more recently, Joel Embiid. Mykhailiuk would face some competition with Wayne Selden Jr., Brannen Greene, and Kelly Oubre, all in the mix at a similar position. However, there is a pretty good chance Oubre and Selden will turn pro after this season. The Ukraine guard is expected to take a visit in Lawrence first over the weekend of 5/16 – 5/18.
After stopping at Kansas, the Ukrainian guard will head east and visit Tony Bennett in Virginia. After a huge year last year, Virginia are looking to continue to grow their program. He is said to have been a fan of former-Cavalier Joe Harris. In fact, Mykhailiuk would probably be able to slide into Harris’ spot in the starting lineup. This would be a huge boost to a Virginia team that already looks to be a strong contender next year behind leader Malcolm Brogdon.
It hasn’t been announced when he will visit Michigan, but just like the other schools, he would be a great fit there. He could be a similar type player as Nik Stauskas, who is off to the NBA. His long-range shooting ability is a definite plus to his game and he will need to grow his game even farther, much like Stauskas did in his second season at Ann Arbor.
In the end, it is clear Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has the chance to make a big impact in college basketball, even at the young age of 17. Being compared to Manu proves the threat of him being the next big European to play in the States. At this time, I would consider Kansas to be the front runner, followed by Virginia, and then Michigan and possibly even SMU, who seem to have shown intrigue.