Mykhailiuk becomes latest former Jayhawk to win NBA title

photo by: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Boston Celtics guard Svi Mykhailiuk (50) shoots during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards in Washington, Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Svi Mykhailiuk won a title as a member of the Boston Celtics on Monday night, becoming the fourth former Jayhawk to become an NBA champion as a player in the last five years.

Mykhailiuk, who played one minute and recorded one rebound in the Celtics’ 106-88 series-clinching victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Boston’s TD Garden, spent four seasons with the Kansas men’s basketball team.

He arrived as a freshman from Cherkasy, Ukraine, in 2014 and, at 17, was the youngest player in the history of the Big 12 Conference. The 6-foot-8 wing eventually played in 136 career games with 70 starts. By his senior year, he became an all-league second-team selection after averaging 14.6 points per game and connecting on 44.4% of his 3-point attempts, and was part of the 2018 team that made a now-vacated run to the Final Four.

Mykhailiuk has been a bit of a journeyman since entering the NBA as a second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018 NBA Draft; the Celtics are his seventh team in six seasons, not including stints in the G League. His most extensive action came during the 2019-20 campaign for the Detroit Pistons, with whom he ultimately spent more than two years, as he started 27 of 56 games and averaged 9.0 points per game in 22.6 minutes.

He has also played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors (the only other team with which he had postseason experience besides the Celtics), New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets.

During this title-winning campaign, Mykhailiuk played 41 games in the regular season with two starts, as well as eight games in the postseason. His best game came when he scored 26 points with five assists and five rebounds against the Washington Wizards in 37 minutes on April 14.

Slava Medvedenko was the only prior Ukrainian to play in the NBA Finals, winning two titles with the Lakers.

As for former Jayhawks, Mykhailiuk follows recent champions Christian Braun (2023, Denver Nuggets); Andrew Wiggins (2022, Golden State Warriors); and Markieff Morris (2020, Los Angeles Lakers). Overall, 16 Jayhawks, half of whom played for Bill Self, have won NBA titles.