Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Tom Keegan: Silvio De Sousa is final piece of puzzle nearing completion

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) pulls in Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) for a chat as he checks into the game for the first time during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) pulls in Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) for a chat as he checks into the game for the first time during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


During every postgame press conference, three players from the Kansas basketball team sit at a table and take questions for three or four minutes and then head to separate spots in the room to discuss the game for two or three more minutes.

After the table session ended and the players were rising from their chairs, third-year sophomore guard Malik Newman imparted a simple message to freshman forward Silvio De Sousa after Kansas dominated Oklahoma, 104-74, Monday in Allen Fieldhouse: “I’m proud of you, young fella’.”

Those words put a perfect cap on the night for De Sousa, who looked and felt very much a part of the team on game night for the first time. Newman could appreciate what De Sousa, a second-semester enrollee, was feeling because at times this season Newman didn’t look as if he quite fit. Now he’s playing more aggressively, more often, more like a Bill Self player.

Not to be overlooked, the resurrection of Lagerald Vick continued with his 17-point, six-rebound, four-assist night. In the past three games, Vick has averaged 15.3 points and five rebounds and has shot .471 on 3-pointers. During a 12-game stretch that preceded the three-game surge, he averaged 7.6 points and 3.7 rebounds and shot .227 from 3.

Svi Mykhailiuk also has shot .471 from 3 in the past three games, breaking from a three-game, 2-for-16 mini-slump.

Kansas has played three games and won them all since Self wondered last Thursday, “The reality is, I think there's potential to play a lot better than we have in the last two or three weeks, without question, if we can just get everybody playing well at the same time.”

Self doesn’t have to think about that anymore. He saw it happen Monday and even received a bonus, courtesy of De Sousa.

For the first time, De Sousa didn’t look overwhelmed. Instead, he looked talented. A 6-foot-9, 245-pound native of Angola who spent his 3 1/2 years of high school at IMG Academy in Florida, De Sousa showed patient footwork in the post and aggressive rebounding at both ends, not to mention perfect form at the free-throw line.

In 13 minutes, De Sousa produced 10 points, six rebounds, an assist and just one turnover. In a perfect shooting night, he made all three field goals and all four free throws.

In nine games before Monday, De Sousa totaled 22 minutes, five points, seven rebounds, eight personal fouls, six turnovers and zero assists.

“Right now, I see things a lot slower,” De Sousa said. “I remember the first day when I got here. I was just seeing the ball move around and everything and I didn’t know what to do. Now I can control the ball. I can catch the passes from Devonte’ (Graham). I’m getting used to it.”

De Sousa’s big night juiced the entire team.

“I’m happy for him,” Graham said. “It’s hard to come in as a freshman in the middle of the season and learn as much as he learned as fast as he learned it. I’m happy for him the way he played tonight.”

Graham’s an ideal teammate for someone feeling overwhelmed. He was there for Svi Mykhailiuk, who was 16 when he arrived at KU with Graham without much of a command of the English language. Graham and Svi quickly became best of friends. And Graham and others are there for De Sousa in the midst of an education that's almost the equivalent of cramming for a final on a daily basis.

“Coach said in the locker room he’s never had a bad attitude,” Graham said. “He messes up, coach takes him out, and he still has a good attitude, still cheering us on and all of that.”

One blowout victory against an Oklahoma team that has lost six in a row doesn’t mean everything is falling into place for the Jayhawks, but things do seem to be trending in the right direction and the circle seems to be drawing closer.

“It feels great,” De Sousa said of succeeding in a game. “I just think what we do on the court is a result of who we are off the court. Ever since I came here, I’m just trying to build my confidence and do as much as I can to help them.”

De Sousa gives Self another place to turn on those nights Lightfoot (just 15 defensive rebounds in 206 Big 12 minutes) is having trouble keeping opponents off the offensive glass.


Gerry Butler 3 weeks, 5 days ago

SAY HELLO TO SILVIO - -good to see you big fella. - -hoping you keep working hard - -you are a sweet talent -- good luck the remainder - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Kent Richardson 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Very impressive stint by Silvio. Great size and quickness and a sweet stroke at least from the foul line. Makes me wonder what range does he have?

Maybe the most impressive thing was his foot speed. Kid can get down the floor as he showed at least twice. The follow up put back on, I think, Malik's layup miss was great. I was like, where the hell did he come from? Not a lot of power forwards can run like that I'll bet. Mitch is quick but not fleet of foot. He is so well proportioned you don't realize how tall he is until he gets close to someone like Mitch. He may be a true 6' 9". Do I have the period in the right place?

We've got us a gem.

I thought Sam Cunliffe's drive and slam was impressive and maybe a little message to coach that hey, I have size and skills too. I can see him being very successful if he is given or earns more of a chance.

Malik has really shown us something during this last half of conference. This guy is good!

Marius Rowlanski 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I like Cunliffe. I've been calling for him to get more minutes since he became eligible but to be fair, he's been dreadful in just about every opportunity he has had. Still, Oklahoma may have been the best game left for Cunliffe to get some meaningful time, only collected a minute and a half of garbage time.

Wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall listening to Self and Cunliffe speak one to one about his future next year. I don't see any way that Sam comes back.

Cunliffe was a talented guard starting at Arizona State. I can't see him wasting any more time sitting on a KU bench after this season.

Dillon Davis 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Forget Sam, what's he gonna do with LaGerald and Malik? We have 2 McDonald's All-Americans coming in plus Charlie Moore. Quentin Grimes will be a starter. If one of the two leave then we'll be set but if one stays it could get interesting. Moore, Newman, Grimes, Lawson, Udoka. With Dotson, KJ Lawson, De Sousa, Mitch, and McCormack coming off the bench? That could work

Jeff Foster 3 weeks, 5 days ago

I can't see Cunliffe transferring again unless it's to a DII school or somewhere else he could play right away, pending any genius NCAA transfer rulings. Not sure Vick goes anywhere either, again, depending on transfer rules. I was thinking the same thing. You also have Agbaji (Oak Park HS) coming off the bench, which makes possibly 12 players. Crazy! It always works itSelf out (see what I did there) and is a great place to be.

Dillon Davis 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Carlton Bragg has transferred multiple times. It happens. But the fact is if Sam can't get on the floor this year with our lack of depth, he sure as heck isn't getting on the floor next year. I completely forgot about Agbaji too! So much depth next year although Agbaji I think seems like a good redshirt candidate.

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I think Newman is gone..he has already spent 2 more years in college than he might have planned for..his draft stock might never be higher..I think Vick stays..his ball handling skills arent up to NBA standard..Cunliffe should stay..sure he might not play alot next year but his Junior year he could improve vastly..

Dirk Medema 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Sam's offensive skills have never been the question or problem. It has been his understanding of how to operate within the team. Defense - especially help side, rebounding, passing to the more open teammate, ...

The good news is that he too is learning. Disappointing that he hadn't learned more in the past year, but he is getting better. If he transfers, he'll have played less than 1 in 3 years with only 2 to go. There's no guarantee that any of the new guys or transfers will perform any better than Sam has so far. He's coming along nicely, though slower than desired. I think Sam's got a couple nice years ahead. Heck, he may even have an freshman Aldrich game in the next month or 2.

Allan Olson 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Self certainly could have put Cunliffe in the OKIE game much earlier than the last minute. But he didn't, and there's the message. He's viewed with the same level of confidence as the walk-ons, even with just a 9 man rotation and bench scoring needed. He practiced with this team for 1 year, after he played a semester at ASU, before getting his chance to shine in 2018. Where's the beef?

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I thought that same thing..I would have brought the walk ons on at the 3 minute mark..the game was well over by then...

Clarence Haynes 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Don’t overlook the great and timely shot blocking performance by Lightfoot! We now have a far better inside presence than a few weeks ago! De Sousa and Lightfoot will help minimize Dok’s fouls and also allow the big fella some time to rest!

Kent Richardson 3 weeks, 5 days ago

So true Clarence. Just like Malik has a sense of where a rebound will carom Mitch with his long arms and quickness has a knack for timing on his blocks without fouling.

Robert Brock 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Devon Dotson will start, next season, from Day One. He is Bill Self’s kind of point guard.

Marius Rowlanski 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Self also likes experience. Not saying that Charlie Moore will be starting when we enter conference play but having been in the program for a year, Dotson will need to take the job away from him.

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I personally think Moore will start, Dotson will have to win that spot..Self has never been too keen on starting Freshmen PG, so unless Dotson is overwhelming, he will have to wait

David Robinett 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Garrett will get his minutes next year no matter who we have. Too good on D and IQ plays.

Jonathan Allison 3 weeks, 5 days ago

next year's team will go back to a typical Bill Self two bigs system. And the three-point attempts will likely go down significantly with Svi and Graham graduating.

Jonathan Allison 3 weeks, 5 days ago

It will be interesting to see which Bill Self team this group will most resemble. Despite having a fairly traditional Bill Self lineup and possible style of play, I can't think of a team that I would expect them to be comparable too. Maybe 05-06 with the loads of freshman and sophomores who would go on to win it all in 08? Maybe more like the 2010 team that featured Collins and Aldrich playing with a bunch of sophomores and X. Henry?

It will be very interesting to see how the transfers and the freshman (+sopho Silvio) blend, and who we lose out of Sam, Dok, Vick, Newman. My guess would be Newman opts to go pro. I hope not, but it makes some sense especially if he doesn't fall into another slump before the season ends.

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I think if Sam had committed to KU originally, he'd probably transfer..but I cant see him sitting a half a season, play, then transfer again and wait another year to play..he might as well stay and improve..Self isnt promised to recruit like this next season..Cunliffe could end up like Releford..he waited 2 years for significant playing time, but when he finally played, he was ready

Tony Bandle 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I think we will have a Multi-headed monsters everywhere next season:

1] Point - Moore/Dotson, 2] Shooting - Grimes/Lawson/that KC kid, 3] Center - Dok/De Sousa/McCormack 4] Wing - Lawson/Vick/Lightfoot, 5] Combo - Garrett, Newman[maybe]. Misc. - Svi, Devonte, Sam gone,,no Langford.

Outside of maybe Dok and De Sousa, everybody can play three positions, although maybe not great at one.

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

K.J is 6'7 and is mores suited for SF, Grimes is 6'5 and plays SG..they wont be jockying for playing time at those spots..Id love for Azibuike to come back...imagine the nightmares that will cause for teams..for KU to have 4 quality front court players

Craig Carson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

and Dedric is 6'9..he wont be playing the wing position...he will be the PF spot, no matter if Dok leaves or not

Brad Watson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I really liked how the young man played on Monday night...Silvio is a super talent .......that's obvious....and after he plays more....shakes off the pine needles from having to sit and learn what our fantastic..... hall of fame coach... expects of him ...which he will be fun to watch.....The young star reminds a little of Jamaal Wilkes....and after his minutes increase to where he is truly comfortable out there....he just might be..... SMOOTH AS SILK!

Remember this champion?

Remember this champion? by Brad Watson

Matt Stone 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Can't imagine how good we could be next year. C Dok/ McCormick F D. Lawson, Lightfoot F. Sousa K. Lawson SG Vick (possibly)Grimes, Cunliff PG Moore, Dotson, Garrett

Doubting Langford comes here but Self still recruiting which really changes dynamic where Sousa may not start is a backup to Lawson and Langford is 2nd SG. Depth will be amazing!

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