Devils in Pursuit of Ukrainian Center

6-10 262 Kyryl Natyazhko played just a half a season, yet his impact was immediately felt. His recruiting stock soared over the summer and ASU was one of the first schools to offer the four-star center a scholarship. Last week the Sun Devil coaches visited head coach Vince Walden of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. who talked to Devils Digest about the recruitment of Natyazhko by the Sun Devils.

"Coach Sendek and Coach Taylor came over here on short notice," said Alden, "and that shows how much they're interested in him. When they talked to him on the phone they expressed their desire to have him be a Sun Devil."

Originally of Ukraine, Natyazhko made his way to the United States this year, after his first cousin, Kyrylo Fesenko, of the Utah Jazz, made a call to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy.

In his junior year this 2009 prospect averaged 16 ppg, 11 rpg and 1.6 bpg.

"Kyryl is a physical player low on the block, that can play the 4 or 5 position," said Walden. "But he's also a very agile player that can shoot the three. So he's a tough mismatch and is a very versatile and intriguing player. His size is intimating but with his frame he should be better on defense."

Walden, who had followed ASU's Head Coach Herb Sendek's teams for a few years now, believes that the Sun Devils could be a good fit for Natyazhko. "I have a 704 area code on my cell phone so I lived in North Carolina and I am familiar with Coach Sendek's style of play," stated Walden. "He does a great job utilizing a 4/5 position skilled player in isolations or pick and pop style."

Natyazhko plans to take the SAT test this Saturday, and in the days following that exam he will begin to chart a list of schools he would like to visit. "We're working on him visiting ASU on Oct. 25th," noted Walden. "Marquette has been recruiting him very hard and I think that's another school he'll probably visit. Miami has been recruiting him hard too."

Aside from those two schools and the Sun Devils, Natyazhko was offered by Xavier and Kentucky. Walden claimed that even though the center will most likely sign an LOI in November, he will only do so if he feels totally comfortable with the school of his choice.

"He's in no rush," commented Walden.

The IMG coach said that Natyazhko is looking for a school that has "a family environment – he's a very personal kid that has a genuine interest getting to know the people around him," said Walden. "He's brilliant academically. When he first came here he was struggling with learning the language. He learned a lot of his English watching ESPN."


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