Former Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has done quite well for himself in the NBA

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Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, left, tries to steal the ball from Detroit Pistons guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Being a college basketball fan is a little like being a mother. Trust me, I know. I’ve been a college basketball fan for well over 20 years.

The thing about being a mother is that, your connection to your players is the greatest bond you will experience in life.

Wait, what did I say?

You love all of the little squirts equally– you really do — but, deep down, you just know that some of them are just more talented than others.

You root all of them while they’re under your (home arena’s) roof, and then when it’s time for them to go, you just throw your hands up and pray.

You send them out into the world (or the NBA) and you hope that they find a way to survive, and not end up hanging out in a CVS parking lot with a cardboard sign begging for spare change, or playing competitively in Greece.

But there are some players who, god love them, just… never quite had a chance.

For UConn fans, guys like Doron Scheffer or Niels Giffey come to mind. They were terrific college players, bless their hearts, but deep down, everybody knew they weren’t going to find a way to stick in the league. I wonder where Giffey is now… or if he needs any cash.

For Kansas fans, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk seemed like one of those guys.

Sure, he came into Lawerence as the youngest player in Big 12 history, getting minutes for the ‘Hawks when he was just a 17-year-old freshman. And sure, he was a 6-7 sharpshooting guard, but when Mykhailiuk was at Kansas, he never really stood out.

On squads that included Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham, Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre (not to mention fan favorite Perry Ellis, bless his heart), the Ukraine native understandably blended into the background. He played sparingly his first two years, and didn’t average in double figures in scoring until his senior year, when he put up 14.6 per on 44% shooting from three.

But after being taken in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Lakers and subsequently cracking the Detroit Pistons’ rotation, Mykhailiuk has proven us all wrong.

The 22-year-old went out and dropped a season-high 21 points on the Celtics on Wednesday night, connecting on five of eight three-point attempts, including an insane, 60-foot shot to beat the third quarter buzzer.

Mykhailiuk is now averaging 20.5 minutes per game for the Pistons, and is shooting 43% from three, which will certainly get him into the lineup more often. He’s also showing the defense and decision-making skills that could allow him to become a starter for a good while.

Not many would have predicted that young Svi would have been this successful, this quickly in the league.

Yet here he is, with his own apartment, a good job balling out for the Pistons, and plenty of room for upward mobility.

It really makes all of those years watching him grow worth it, doesn’t it Jayhawks fans?

Call me sappy, but it sure does bring a tear to your eye to see them do good.

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