Arizona Basketball

Natyazhko graduates from Arizona, elevates his game in the Ukraine under Fratello

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Former Arizona forward Kyryl Natyazhko, a member of Sean Miller’s first recruiting class of 2009, earned his bachelor’s degree in General Studies this semester, completing UA courses online in his native Ukraine, where he is playing professionally.

Miller tweeted today: “Congratulations to @kreal4real for graduating from @UofA this semester! #APlayersProgram”

Kyryl Natyazhko earned his University of Arizona bachelor's degree in three and a half years (click on photo to access YouTube video)

Kyryl Natyazhko earned his University of Arizona bachelor’s degree in three and a half years

To which Natyazhko responded: “Thank you coach. I promised I would do it and I did it. Good luck tonight.”

Natyazhko decided to forego his senior season with the Wildcats and return home to play for the Ukrainian national team and also play professionally. He averages 5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.1 minutes a game for Azovmash.

Natyazhko, 22, was featured in a recent Q&A published on the FIBA Web site.

In the interview, Natyazhko comments about being coached by former NBA head coach Mike Fratello, who is the Ukrainian national team’s coach.

“I would say he has so much experience that his presence makes guys show respect,” Natyazhko told “Everyone listens twice to what he says and his staff is really amazing.

“His staff is really amazing because he has like six coaches from the pro level. You’re talking about guys who coached Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, guys like that.”

Fratello’s staff includes former Orlando Magic coach Brian Hill and NBA player Ed Pinckney.

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner


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