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Originally published October 24, 2018 at 09:37a.m., updated October 24, 2018 at 03:11p.m.

Silvio De Sousa will not play in KU’s exhibition opener

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) puts up a shot during a shoot around on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) puts up a shot during a shoot around on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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Kansas City, Mo. — Kansas sophomore Silvio De Sousa will not play in Thursday’s exhibition opener against Emporia State in Allen Fieldhouse and a timeline for his return remains unknown.

KU coach Bill Self on Wednesday morning announced the Jayhawks’ decision to withhold De Sousa from competition “until we can evaluate and understand the new information,” that emerged from the recently wrapped college basketball fraud trial in New York.

During the trial, a former recruiting fixer and Adidas consultant testified that he made payments to De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne. According to that testimony, Falmagne allegedly received $2,500 for college courses to send De Sousa to KU.

Falmagne also allegedly received $60,000 from a Maryland booster. The Adidas consultant, TJ Gassnola, testified that he meant to pay $20,000 to get De Sousa out of the Maryland payment, but never did because the FBI investigation became public.

De Sousa, a native of Angola who played his high school ball at IMG Academy and graduated a semester early to join the Jayhawks last December, had previously said that he expected to play this season, despite eligibility concerns. He averaged 4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 20 games as a freshman last season.

Declining to comment on any specifics of the trial, Self later Wednesday elaborated on De Sousa’s status, which the forward from Angola first heard about Tuesday night and his teammates learned of Wednesday morning, many of them through Twitter.

“Silvio knew that this could happen,” Self said. “But he wasn’t officially told this by me until (Tuesday) night because we wanted to wait as long as we possibly could to determine if, in fact, the trial would be over so therefore maybe we would be told how the process would then take place concerning his eligibility review.

“He knows (he is being held out) for Thursday. But he also knows if (the review is) not complete, it’ll be longer than Thursday.”

Top-ranked Kansas plays its second and final exhibition game at home against Washburn on Nov. 1 and will open the regular season Nov. 6 against No. 10 Michigan State at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis.

In an attempt to be as clear as possible, Self spoke slowly and emphasized his attempt at clarity in the opening minutes of his hour-long breakout session with the media at Wednesday’s Big 12 media day at Sprint Center.

“There is an eligibility review that’s going to be done jointly between our university and the NCAA and that will determine when he can play and I guess you could even put the word “if” in there,” Self said after initially saying he thought he would coach De Sousa again. “But that’s something that will be determined by somebody else. Me, personally? Oh, yeah. I’m looking forward to coaching Silvio in games, but that doesn’t mean that I’m positively going to or giving you a timeline when I will.”

Asked if the review process would begin when the trial was over — a verdict declaring the three defendants guilty on all counts was read around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, near the end of Self’s breakout session — Self said he was unsure of even that.

“I think the timeline is probably in the NCAA’s hands far more than it is the university,” he said. “But I am not in contact with the NCAA personally or have been educate to what’s going on. My assumption would be that they’ll work together to try to expedite the process, but who knows what will have to go into the review to come to a conclusion.”

Self stressed throughout the day that the situation surrounding De Sousa has not had a negative affect on him, his coaching staff or the team in general.

KU forward Dedric Lawson backed that stance and said he and his teammates had tried to offer as much support as possible to De Sousa while the trial remained ongoing.

“With everything going on in his life, we try to be there for him and support him,” Lawson said. “I know it’s a tough time for him, but, as time goes on, the truth will come out. He says that all the time. And he comes to practice and plays extremely hard. Over the past two weeks, he’s been one of our best players at practice.”

Added Self of De Sousa: “He’s a kid that’s put in his time and certainly now feels sad because he’s having something taken away from him that, obviously, he did not anticipate being taken from him. But he’s a big boy, too. And we deal with this stuff, not on a constant basis, but eligibility issues are very commonplace in college athletics and guys have to deal with them.”

KU Chancellor Doug Girod and first-year athletic director Jeff Long released a joint statement Wednesday afternoon that, in part, addressed the situation surrounding De Sousa.

“So, what now? First, we will await guidance from prosecutors as to next steps regarding the criminal matter,” the statement read. “Second, once the Justice Department clears us to move forward, we will work with the NCAA to vigorously review new information presented during the trial. Third, we will continue to review the eligibility of all our student-athletes to ensure that they meet the eligibility standards of the NCAA and KU.”

When asked for clarity on when the Justice Department might clear the way to move forward, a KU official told the Journal-World the there was no known timetable.

Self said Wednesday that De Sousa would still practice with the team while being held out of competition.

Comments

Dee Shaw 2 years, 5 months ago

Not a surprise. Seems like this is annual event each year holding a player out because of the unknown. We know how this story will end. Why prolong it. Just release the young man and move on. Why have drama and the speculation each game if he’s going to play. There’s no way he’s going to be allowed to play. It’s almost comical and embarrassing how this happens with so many KU players. Just to name a few Selby, Diallo, Preston and De Sousa. I know I’m missing a few names. This act is getting old and exhausting.

John Strayer 2 years, 5 months ago

It's the price of blue chip players...that's what I've learned from last weeks trial.

Joe Joseph 2 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. None of this is going to be cleared up soon. De Sousa could sign a contract somewhere, make some money, and dedicate all of his time to basketball.

It may have been a coincidence, but it seemed like KU started playing better once Billy Preston decided to leave last year. Unfortunately for KU this season, the looming cloud of NCAA sanctions won't go away once DeSousa leaves.

Curtis Hedrick 2 years, 5 months ago

Does this happen every year at Duke, UK, UNC, Mich State? I have not heard of those programs sitting out their top players every year because of eligibility issues. What are they doing different that our coaching staff is not to keep their players on the floor?

RJ King 2 years, 5 months ago

Nike reps and boosters are more skilled?

Steve Corder 2 years, 5 months ago

Every year...give me the names of those KU players since Self has been at Kansas, other than Preston.

Mike Hart 2 years, 5 months ago

Nov 2010: Josh Selby. 2012-2013: Ben McLemore's AAU coach taking money for help steering McClemore. (Darius Cobb, the AAU coach in question, reportedly "received thousands of dollars in cash, lodging, meals and trips from a middle man who courted the Kansas player on behalf of sports agents and financial advisers during the 2012-13 college basketball season). Feb 2015: Cliff Alexander. 2016: Josh Jackson's mother Apple Jones listed in Christian Dawkins notes as receiving payment prior and during Jackson's recruitment (reference 2/23/18 KU sports article taken from Yahoo Sports)... and continued payments during the 2016 season. 2017: Billy Preston and Sylvio DeSousa.

That enough for you for now?

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 5 months ago

Considering how most of these violations have been things KU has found, or KU has chosen to hold the kids out until it's resolved, the question is whether it's happening here more, or we're catching it/doing something about it more? One of those is unfortunate while the other is great. It's a lot easier to not find violations if you're not actually looking for them.

Bryce Landon 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe Self needs to stop recruiting these kinds of players; they cause more headaches than they are worth.

Doug Longstaff 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, the Final Four was kinda nice!

I like that the NBA and the G-League appear to be willing to step up and provide a place in the states for players who are uninterested in college to go play after high school. Should reduce the demand for cash from schools and shoe companies. Won't fix it all, but could help.

Craig Carson 2 years, 5 months ago

this is what I dont get...DeSousa had no red flags prior to his signing that would have pointed to him having a guardian willing to take $$, neither did Preston, neither did any player for that matter...it wasnt like any of these kids had red flags that Self and his staff chose to ignore..so saying "these type of players" is very foolish..cant expect Self to be a mind reader or clairvoyant

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 5 months ago

Preston had some red flags which is why some schools stopped pursuing him.

It sort of seems like foreign kids are more likely to have shady handlers/guardians that are looking for something but that's something that we may just now be figuring out.

Marc Frey 2 years, 5 months ago

He will not play for KU this year. He will follow Preston's route. Both can blame parents or mentors. Neither had the best interest of their children, but only their own pockets.

Mike Barnhart 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, it's more complicated than that. A kid from Africa was discovered by a shoe company scout, brought to the U.S., placed on an elite AAU basketball team, attended high school academy for free, housed is style for free and attended college for free. When he chose to switch his shoe company allegiance (twice) someone had to account for the expenses.

No one here is to blame. Unfortunately, shifty backrooms deals come with the territory.

[''] 2 years, 5 months ago

Mike - "No one here is to blame." NO ONE!!??? Really? C'mooon

Mike Hart 2 years, 5 months ago

" .... It is nice to be on the same side of an argument with you for once! Mike Barnhart... get serious. KU's Townsend and Self (at least to me).. seem pretty clearly tied in via text as to what all the developments were with DeSousa (and Zion Williamson for that matter). I don't know.. and don't care... if other schools are doing it too... but KU should not be playing that game. I'll take a less competitive team that doesn't cheat.. and does things by the rules... any day of the week over this circus with Preston, DeSousa.. and our attempts (via Townsend text correspondence) to be open and willing to work towards trying to meet Williamson's cash/housing/employment demands.

[''] 2 years, 5 months ago

What are you 9 yrs old? You are missing the point. You think a guilty verdict means these 3 are the only ones to blame??? Fenny and Billy's mom are just as guilty for knowingly taking $ and screwing up these men's collegiate careers. Idiots!

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 5 months ago

The guilty verdict just means that there was not sufficient evidence to claim KU was involved as opposed to being the victim. Maybe you know more than the jury, maybe the coaches are involved, or maybe they know Adidas was helping but did not know what exactly that entailed (promises of future shoe deals, apparel, saying good things about the staff, or simply staying "loyal" to a company that has supported their AAU teams and such in the past).

[''] 2 years, 5 months ago

Amen Marc! Any POS parent or guardian who accepts $ is a greedy idiot and does not have the player's best interest at heart. Billy's mom and Fenny are pathetic.

Joe Baker 2 years, 5 months ago

I thjnk you all have PTSD. The word allegedly means, innocent until proven guilty. They have to go through the process because just maybe it makes no sense for a player to be offered $60k or more and then you have to pay back a Maryland booster, plus you pay $2500 for online courses?
I dont know whats worse, Maryland paying a kid $60k who never attends or KU paying $2500 for online course pay offs. I want to know if KU paid the Maryland booster. I want to know if DeSousa was paid $2500 for online courses. Ridiculous. This works in KU's favor. There are clouds all over NCAA Men's Bball. Ask Coach K, he calls it a "blip." And he should know too because he is a big deal in college bball. Also why didnt we get Zion? Guess we ran out of recruiting money? NOT! DOOKIES ARE DIRTY LIL TURDS.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 5 months ago

I think we all knew this would happen. Just too much of a risk to play him. Sad.

Brian Leslie 2 years, 5 months ago

Not true. There were plentty of posters that would shout down anyone who suggested that DeSousa might not play. The usual talking point was "he's already been declared eligible by the NCAA" or maybe "we don't know the guardian received the money." I eventually had enough and quit talking about, knowing that where we are now is where we would end up. Maybe one of the true believers will chime in now.

Unbelievable luck for this to happen during a season we have/had 5 big men.

Jack Hoff 2 years, 5 months ago

My biggest knock on Self as a coach outside of the March disappointments is the never ending circus around his top recruits year after year after year. Seems like we can never go into a season without some clown show about eligibility. Just once can we have a good team going in and not have questions about our top players being able to play. Other blue bloods don't seem to have this problem as much as KU does. And if they are all cheating then KU needs to do a better job hiding it like everyone else. It's tiresome.

Steve Corder 2 years, 5 months ago

Be smart, Jack, and re-read before you post.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 5 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Not playing Silvio at this time is the correct move.......for now.

2] The NCAA [Not Concerned At All] will drag this situation out because they, frankly, have no clue on how to deal with the scope this magnitude of corruption.

3] What concerns me is someone is going to have to be the sacrificial lamb in all this.....and Kansas looks like a prime candidate. It's not fair and most likely, not just, but it seems to be how our society works these days.

4] If it was up to me, I would call a time out and a do-over, set a comprehensive plan of recruiting criteria and just punishments for violations, let the universities off with a strict warning and start fresh NOW!!

5] Crowd participation at non-neutral court away games is going to be interesting for our Jayhawks,.this season.

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 5 months ago

buy stock in Hasbro, because Monopoly money is going to be falling from the rafters in college basketball this year.

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