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Ukraine give teen sensation Mykhailiuk a taste of the big time
BILBAO (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Ukraine have arrived in the north of Spain for the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a youngster that has a huge future.
National team coach Mike Fratello has included teenager Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, an incoming freshman at American college basketball powerhouse Kansas, in the squad for their Group C campaign in Bilbao.
Mykhailiuk, who turned 17 on 10 June, has had a busy summer already with Ukraine.
A 1.99m guard, he led the Ukrainians to a runners-up finish at the U18 European Championship Division B in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Former NBA coach Fratello invited him to camp but expressed doubt at the time that he would make the World Cup squad.
The Cherkassy-born playmaker did enough in the preparations with Ukraine to claim a spot on the 12-man roster.
While excited that his freshman is going to get a taste of the big time with Ukraine, one of the surprise packages at the World Cup after their sixth-place finish at EuroBasket 2013, Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self is predicting that his prized recruit will have to make up for lost time when he arrives in Lawrence.
"I'm happy for him," Self told the Kansas City Star newspaper.
"I'm a little concerned that he's going to come in well behind, which he will.
"And without putting too much pressure on him, I was hoping he'd be really ready to be a major contributor mid-November. It may take him a little bit more time."
Even so, Mykhailiuk is now going to get to do something that most players can only dream of, and that's play at a FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Eleven of the players who featured in last year's EuroBasket team have made Fratello's roster, with the only one to miss out shooting guard Dmytro Gliebov.
Ukraine squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Sergii Gladyr, Eugene "Pooh" Jeter, Dmytro Zabirchenko, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Alexander Mishula, Olexander Lypovyy, Maxim Kornienko, Maxim Pustozvonov, Igor Zaitsev, Viacheslav Kravtsov, Kyryl Natyazhko and Artem Pustovoy.