Friday, April 10, 2009


April 10, 2009

DeJuan Blair is moving on to the NBA and left in his massive wake is a gaping hole at center. To help fill that hole, Jamie Dixon and his staff are looking to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. where 6'10" 250 pound center Kyryl Natyazhko (pronounced KAH-rill NUH-tosh-ko) is located. The Ukrainian import, reached by phone this afternoon, disputes a recent national article in which his coach at IMG, Vince Walden, stated that his decision will come down to Arizona or Arizona State, and that his decision will likely come this weekend.

"I don't know why he said that," chuckled Natyazhko. "It's three schools I'm looking at. Pittsburgh, Arizona State, and Arizona. And I wouldn't say they are even. In fact, I would say Pittsburgh and Arizona State are on top now. I haven't been to Arizona yet. Coach (Sean) Miller just got the job out there and they want me to come out and visit as soon as possible, but the only time I can visit is next weekend. So I'm going to try to do that and use that as my last official visit."

Natyazhko had already visited Arizona State and Pittsburgh, along with Xavier and Ohio. At Arizona State, Natyazhko was particularly impressed with the high contingent of European players on the roster. At Pitt, it was the atmosphere. "I was there when they played UConn," stated Natyazhko. "It was pretty unbelievable".

One thing Natyazhko won't have to worry about is playing time. Arizona State graduated big man Jeff Pendergraph, Arizona is in the midst of a roster overhaul, and the Panthers have lost Blair. The fact that the last two centers for Pittsburgh, Blair and Aaron Gray, have moved on as NBA draft picks is not lost on Natyazhko, and he says that could factor in his decision. "I'm just looking for a coach that will help me get to the next level. I just have to decide who that is".



At 10:31 PM, Blogger Nick said...

For arguments sake lets say we do land Kyryl what role do you think he would play next year and do you really think that Gary McGhee will be a starter next year, if he does I think we could be in some serious trouble.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger freeportpanther said...

thanks for all the info after talking to kyryl do u still feel hes headed to one of the arizona schools?

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

Nick, I think Natyazhko would play a lot. I don't know if he would start because that would mean two freshmen starters in the post and possibly a redshirt freshman at the point. That doesn't sound like Jamie Dixon. But I would be shocked if McGhee started. If he does, and he plays well, then Dixon and he should be commended immensely because that would be a huge turnaround.

Freeportpanther, I can only go by what he says and he said Pitt and Arizona State were on top, with Arizona possibly joining the fray with a visit next weekend. By going by what he says I'm guessing Pitt has just as good a shot as anybody. Some of these kids play games for whatever reason, but he seemed extremely honest and forthcoming with me.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Nick said...

If McGhee isn't starting at center do you think we'll see a Dante Taylor and Dwight Miller front court? But that would still essentially have us starting three freshman.

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Chris Dokish said...

Only a guess, but I would think a front line of Taylor, Wanamaker, and Brown.


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