The Kansas men's basketball team officially has a new big man.
KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World Friday night that Class of 2018 power forward Silvio De Sousa, who committed to KU in August and signed a letter of intent during the early signing period in November, had officially been permitted to graduate from IMG Academy, clearing the way for De Sousa to join the Jayhawks in time for the second semester.
“Silvio has completed the required coursework that will enable him to graduate and report to KU,” Self said. “We are now working through the NCAA's amateurism process and hope to have him certified as soon as possible for game competition. He is eligible to practice immediately and will report (to campus) on the 26th.”
Friday's news ends a process that spanned several weeks of waiting for test scores and final exams and brings to life an idea that dates back to De Sousa first dreaming of joining the Jayhawks early when he committed to KU.
Self said De Sousa would not be able to participate in a game until he is certified by the NCAA, making next Friday's Big 12 Conference opener at Texas a possibility and almost guaranteeing that De Sousa will suit up for Kansas in early January at the latest.
In De Sousa, who will wear No. 22 at KU, the Jayhawks are getting a player who, though young and in need of time to adjust to the Division I level, should be able to provide meaningful minutes right away and important depth for KU's front court.
His size and skill set will provide immediate help for KU's thin front line and Self said he thought the Angola native could be plugged into games for spot minutes right away as an additional rebounder and defender alongside 7-foot sophomore Udoka Azubuike and 6-8 sophomore Mitch Lightfoot while he learns KU's systems and figures out how to play with his new teammates.
Self said the entire acclimation process would likely take De Sousa "a couple weeks," but there's no doubt that adding the No. 25-ranked player in the 2018 recruiting class provides Kansas a huge lift as it prepares to make a run at consecutive Big 12 title No. 14.
The Jayhawks are off for the weekend, most of them back home with their families for the holidays, and will report back to campus on Tuesday.
KU is still awaiting some sort of resolution in the Billy Preston situation, as the freshman McDonald's All-American has missed all 12 games while KU officials investigate a compliance issue involving his vehicle, but the addition of De Sousa significantly reduces the pressure associated with getting Preston back.