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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

De Sousa won’t make KU debut at Texas

Self hopes new big man will be cleared 'within a week'

FILE — IMG Academy's Silvio De Sousa #22 in action against Wasatch Academy during a high school basketball game at the 2017 Hoophall Classic on Sunday, January 15, 2017, in Springfield, MA. De Sousa arrived at the University of Kansas this week to join the men's basketball team ahead of schedule.(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

FILE — IMG Academy's Silvio De Sousa #22 in action against Wasatch Academy during a high school basketball game at the 2017 Hoophall Classic on Sunday, January 15, 2017, in Springfield, MA. De Sousa arrived at the University of Kansas this week to join the men's basketball team ahead of schedule.(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

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Over the course of the past several days, Silvio De Sousa completed the academic work necessary to graduate early from high school, relocated from Bradenton, Fla., to Lawrence, and experienced his first basketball practice at the University of Kansas.

The 6-foot-9 power forward, though, won’t be able to add an in-game collegiate debut to his whirlwind December.

KU coach Bill Self said Wednesday De Sousa, a five-star big man who just completed his prep career at IMG Academy, won’t be available for the Jayhawks’ Friday Big 12 opener at Texas.

Once the NCAA confirms De Sousa’s amateur status, Self explained, the young post player will be able to put on his No. 22 Kansas uniform and check into a game.

“I’d like to be able to say within a week,” Self replied, when asked how soon De Sousa could officially become an active member of the roster. “But I don’t know that to be a fact.”

From the day De Sousa signed, Self and his staff knew reclassifying and enrolling at KU for the spring semester would be a possibility, so much of the “leg work” of making sure it could play out that way was done in advance.

“But it’s not a situation that the NCAA actually moves on until he’s actually been cleared. And we didn’t know he was going to be eligible to come to Kansas. The NCAA — think about it — are they going to go spend all their time researching something that they don’t even know is going to happen? And the answer would be no,” Self said.

Neither KU nor the NCAA knew for sure De Sousa had finished his high school coursework until this past Friday evening, before the Christmas holiday weekend.

“We’re kind of at the mercy of them right now,” Self said of the NCAA.

The KU coach joked he called the NCAA offices at 8:01 a.m. Wednesday, “And there was a recording saying ‘Happy holidays.’ So, I don’t think they report back until Jan. 2.”

Even though the 245-pound addition to the Jayhawks’ frontcourt can’t help his teammates immediately, Self wasn’t worried about that part of the equation. The 15th-year Kansas coach said his team practiced Wednesday morning against various sets Texas (9-3) runs and an evening session would properly introduce De Sousa to Self’s man-to-man defense and principles.

“It’s going to take him two weeks, at least,” Self added for emphasis, “to get to the point where he can be out there, even if we just simplify two out-of-bounds plays, two side-out-of-bounds, a couple of zone plays, a couple of man plays and how we guard ball screens and stuff. Even if we just do that, that will still take a couple of weeks.”

As for the players, the No. 11-ranked Jayhawks (10-2) seem cautiously optimistic about how quickly they can help De Sousa, a 19-year-old originally from Luanda, Angola, get acclimated.

Senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk described the process of pulling that off as “tough,” because the rest of the roster has been working together since the summer and De Sousa arrived at KU late Tuesday night. Even so, Mykhailuk assessed: “I think he’s pretty smart, and he’s going to learn quick.”

KU senior point guard Devonte’ Graham began researching De Sousa and checking out his video highlights when the power forward first committed. Now that the freshman is on campus, Graham said he and other more established players can attempt to expedite De Sousa’s college basketball education by letting the big man know what Self and the coaching staff will expect of him.

“He’s got a pretty good feel defensively, where to be on the court and stuff like that, and he’s active and you can tell that he’s a quick learner,” Graham shared. “I don’t think it will be too hard for him to come in and actually do the little things that coach likes. And he plays hard, and he’s athletic.”

Graham described De Sousa as “pretty strong for (being) straight out of high school,” while Mykhailiuk shared the forward reminded him of a shorter version of sophomore center Udoka Azubuike.

Whenever De Sousa does debut for Kansas — following Friday’s game at Texas, KU plays Jan. 2 versus Texas Tech at Allen Fieldhouse, and Jan. 6 at TCU — the fresh-out-of-high-school post player will be thrown into the fire of Big 12 play.

“It could be real challenging,” Graham said of De Sousa’s situation, before adding he thinks the new Jayhawk possesses the size to battle in the paint. “If he just does the little things like rebound and run the floor and just help the team out, it will be easier for ’Dok. ’Dok don’t got to play as many minutes and just little things like that that he can help us with.”

KU’s plan, Graham affirmed, is to ease De Sousa into the rotation, and, of course, that’s what Self wants, too.

“Certainly we’re not going to be as good as we can be, though, ’til February — let’s just write it down there,” the coach said. “If we can bide as much time now and keep getting better but knowing down the road we can be quite a bit better if things work out with Billy (Preston), obviously, and when Silvio gets cleared, it’s going to be a couple of weeks even after those guys get cleared that we’ll start seeing a difference, I think.”

No update on Preston

Held out of KU’s first 12 games as the university’s compliance office investigated a potential issue with the vehicle Preston drove during a single-car, non-injury accident in November, the freshman forward’s status remains up in the air as Kansas heads into conference play.

Self said Wednesday he felt “much better” about soon receiving “somewhat of an answer” on Preston’s availability — “even if it’s not a definitive one” — and learning what the next step might be.

“I do feel comfortable with that,” Self said. “So hopefully we’ll hear something soon from our people.”

A 6-10, 240-pound forward, Preston was a McDonald’s All-American at Oka Hill Academy (Va.), and rated the No. 10 prospect in his class by Rivals.

Comments

Bryson Stricker 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The NCAA is taking the holidays off but you best believe they'd be in the office for some other BS that doesn't benefit the sport.

GetRidoftheNCAA

RJ King 3 weeks, 3 days ago

"Happy Holidays" = Christmas, New Years, MLK, Ground Hog Day, Valentines, Presidents, St Patty's, until finally ... "April Fools! Ha Ha. We were never actually going to respond. Got cha!"

Barry Weiss 3 weeks, 4 days ago

well, looks like this could take a while if Coach is only hoping for a week. No mention of Billy? I thought something was coming on that on Friday, the 22nd? Conference play is upon us, wish this stuff could be finalized.

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

this really isnt a big deal..Cunliffe barely played his 1st game eligible and thats despite him having practiced a full year..DeSousa would have been a pretty decoration on the bench for the 1st game or 2...least now he can get a little bit more practice time in before his first official game..i hope we can get a new years gift of an eligible Billy Preston

Marius Rowlanski 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I disagree Craig. Not with the analogy but we aren't in the need for another guard although it helps. If Silvio had the same amount of time with the team as Sam does, he would get significant minutes right away.

If Preston was suddenly available, he would be in the game Saturday.

It would be a great confidence builder if we beat Texas w/only Dok and Mitch.

David Hodges 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The longer Billy Preston sits the less impact he will have for this team. Its starting to look a lot like he isn't going to play at all given the recent radio silence. Here's to hoping I'm wrong!

Daniel Kennamore 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Anytime you're 'at the mercy of the NCAA' when it comes to timelines, you're talking weeks to months.

We'll be lucky if he's declared eligible before the Texas A&M game.

Also, really feels like Self has pretty unrealistic expectations about NCAA decision time-lines. They let the internal investigation on Preston go on for just shy of two months...but Self was talking like as soon as they gave the NCAA their findings he'd be cleared nearly immediately.

Jerry Walker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

"Self was talking like as soon as they gave the NCAA their findings he'd be cleared nearly immediately."

That's just wishful thinking on your part - and completely inaccurate. Self never said any such thing.

Daniel Kennamore 3 weeks, 3 days ago

He kept saying for weeks he was expecting news soon, then last week he said he was expecting to hear back something on Friday.

The definition of 'soon' isn't two months plus more.

Marius Rowlanski 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Agree with Jerry but also, Self is always going to go out of his way NOT to anger the idiots that make up the NCAA.

Bill Pitcher 3 weeks, 4 days ago

We're more at the mercy of our own AD's compliance staff. You can find a picture of them next to "inept" in Webster's.

Drew Doerfler 3 weeks, 4 days ago

i admit that i'm conflicted about Preston. at this point, it is just getting ridiculous. We need him, but my guess is that he put himself and the team in this situation which i don't like at all. The athletic department isn't really releasing any info about what happened at all and keeping it all hush hush which leads me to think that Preston or his mother did something they shouldn't have regarding acquiring the car. I'm also guessing that what took so long for the internal investigation by the ad department was more of a waiting game for Preston's mom to get the money together to repay anything they received wrongfully for the car. And if he knew that he was doing something shady, he basically told all of his teammates, the university, the fans, his coach..etc , that he could care less about them. If this would have come out now about the car, and he had been playing, we could have had to forfeit all those games which would have kept us out of the tournament, lost us the conference and screwed over his teammates. Hopefully I'm wrong and they did nothing wrong, but the actions and the secrecy of the ad department would suggest otherwise. So although we need him, there's a part of me that just wants him and his distractions to go away.....

RJ King 3 weeks, 3 days ago

very plausible speculation - especially about time needed for mom to repay the car.

Gerry Butler 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Guys sorry to say I think it is becoming pretty plain and Simple , really don't think Billy will touch the floor this year. - -There is something else going on , has to be , it does not take this long to make a determination over a car. - -I think he is another one that went wrong and we got no benefit from - -Diallo - -Alexander - -& now Preston - what a waste, the kid has talent, but just don't think we are going to ever see it in a KU uniform - -

Tony Bandle 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Yep....Ditto....Uh huh....and crap, I think you're right!!!!!!!

DiscGolfer Jason 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Self has a nice long list of players that have had "issues". Wish he stopped getting those types. It's always something with our team. Tired of it. Duke, UNC, Mich St, and even UK are rarely ever in the news about wrong-doing. I firmly believe Self is a bit over-hyped as "great recruiter".

Just my thought.

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

The other programs do a better job of covering their messes and getting the NCAA to overlook their messes. Remember, it took the freakin' FBI to find the L'ville mess. They are likely looking at Zona too. They've already cleared KU because we didn't have any messes. Self runs a clean ship and unfortunately it's to KU's disadvantage.

Marius Rowlanski 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Get a grip. Self is being cautious so as to not get a Final Four season wiped from the records as Memphis did under Coach Cal.

Creg Bohrer 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I'm thinking the same thing I don't see Billy suiting up this season, I hope I get proven wrong but it isn't looking real good.

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

You really believe Bill Self recruits 'crooks'? You think KU is the only program that has this much trouble. Hind sight is always 20/20 my friend. Other programs learn how to clean up records and keep players eligible. You're a fool if you think KU is the only program that has this kind of issue. I would say it happens with just about every other recruit in a program. KU's are above board and high profile. The politics in college bball are a beeotch.

Layne Pierce 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Preston situation is a la Josh Selby, Alexander, Diallo, yeah we/ve seen it before, but actually De Souza, is enough of a boost along with Cunliffe, we have no excuses.

Rock Chalk

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I was hoping that Silvio was a quick review and ruling. I really thought he would be playing against UT. But then I remember UK's issue with Kanter, but he in fact failed the amateur status by playing with a team in Greece. But don't think Angola has any amateur teams, lol. This is funny and it took all year to rule on Kanter's status. He then went to the league. Funny how that works. A kid is ruled ineligible and then goes to the league, hmm.

Bill Corrigan 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Benton:

Given KU’s checkered history with the NCAA Eligibility Center, is this unit perennially understaffed, marginally incompetent, or both?  It is incomprehensible how Billy Preston and Silvio De Silva are still awaiting eligibility certification near the basketball season’s midpoint when, presumably, the number of currently open NCAA eligibility cases should be minimal.

Would you have any insight regarding this enigma?

Kent Richardson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

They need their holiday week off not at Christmas but around April Fools Day.

Barry Weiss 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I'm still not sure how our administration could miss this car deal. Supposedly they knew about it, or it was registered from the very beginning. If so, why does it take a minor car accident, hitting a curb, to all of a sudden require a deeper dive into it? I would think any kid who gets a scholarship and is going to either help our team, or put future wins in jeopardy with stuff like this, gets looked at (including cars) very closely. Either someone dropped the ball here in our department, or there is something else to this story we just have not been told.

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

NCAA politics Bill. They aren't even very candid about it either. Read the bball news and you'll learn what's going against KU. We tied the precious UCLA title record, and now looking to overtaking that title spot. They have KU losing the B12 to OU, WVU, and any other team they deem able to beat them under our current roster, and you think they are going to clear Preston and Silvio to change that story? BIll Self has proven the 'experts' wrong every year, and they are pissed at looking foolish.

Kent Richardson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Keep practicing hard Billy and Silvio. I think if it was something really bad about Preston he would just leave school.

It may be like Bill tried to tell me and look to be better in February. Cunliffe and Garrett will get a lot of playing time and along with Mitch will have to make measurable progress and quick.

I keep adjusting this number upwards but we need 60-65 from Vick, DeVonte and Svi to tide us over. Good news is they can do it. Can't be every other game either unless Doke goes for 25.

It may be an I've got your back year and a darn close team atmosphere by February. Get an edgy attitude as everybody will be gunning for you.

I reran the ASU game and they were completely unconscious. How many 25' threes and off balance paint shots can you make? It was just like OU's game against Wichita State where it was just too over the top easy. It felt like it at the time but neither game was a blowout.

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Good first point Kent. I think if Self knew something he would cut ties. But then I remember Alexander's case, hmm. How do you explain that experience? He kept Alexander to the very end, and we all know how that ended.

Randy Glenn 3 weeks, 4 days ago

When Billy stayed home from the Miami{Syracuse} game because his mom was in town...raised a red flag for me. She knew when the schedule first came out that he would be gone. Not sure well see him in uniform...sure hope Im wrong..we could use him!!

RJ King 3 weeks, 3 days ago

What's your point? I thought mom decided to visit because Billy got left behind. It's easy to buy airline tickets last minute. What does it matter what she had known months before?

Mallory Briggans 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Is a coincidence that Oliver Luck is overseeing the decision former A.D.at West Viginia who while there put in Bob Huggins' contract a bonus everytime he beat the Jayhawks..do you think he will do anything to help Kansas win another Big 12 title ....in my opinion .....no......

Edward Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago

In all Fairness to Huggy Bear, He Donates the Bonus Money to Cancer Research. As for Oliver Luck , He is a Man of Integrity and I Would Doubt Very Seriously He is Involved in the Delay. KU Compliance Dropped the Ball!

David Kelley-Wood 3 weeks, 4 days ago

"Self said Wednesday he felt “much better” about soon receiving “somewhat of an answer” on Preston’s availability — “even if it’s not a definitive one” — and learning what the next step might be."

I can't think of when I've ever seen so much equivocation crammed into one sentence! It's time for action! Maybe we'd better assemble a task force to explore the possibility of forming a committee to consider the pros and cons of making some recommendations.

Edward Daub 3 weeks, 3 days ago

The Key Question is "An Answer from Who"? KU? NCAA? FBI?

F.B.I. used to Stand for Federal Bureau of Investigation!

F.B.I. now Stands for "Free Billy Immediately"!

The Cautious Approach Taken by KU Compliance is Puzzling.

Tom Jones 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Not sure why being cautious is puzzling. They want to make sure that every game counts and if they play him and then he gets slapped by the NCAA, games will get vacated.

It is what it is, folks.

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Exactly! The compliance dept did their part. All the NCAA should do is review and rule, for or against. This board needs to understand this is all the NCAA should do at this point...review and rule. It's an easy process.

Robert Hunzicker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Are there ever any issues like these with Kentucky????

DiscGolfer Jason 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Or Duke, UNC, Mich St. I really don't recall those schools making headlines like KU does.

Joe Baker 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Great question Robert. Yes, Enes Kanter. I remember another odd issue with Terrance Jones that never went any where either. It was much like Billy's case. Oh and UK went on to a NC with Jones too, haha. Say what you want about ol' Cal, but that little sleeze has the NCAA where he wants them. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to have a former school AD compliance member leave your program and work for the NCAA either, that certainly helps and gives you a big advantage too. That little change happened shortly after the Kanter debacle.

Barry Weiss 3 weeks, 3 days ago

one positive could be that if Preston was projected to be a one and done, this probably has jacked up his season and stats so bad that he may need to come back next year to showcase his abilities more. Trying to luck for something positive in this mess. It's fishy.

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