Advertisement

Welcome to the year of Silvio De Sousa

Advertisement

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa and Kansas guard Chris Teahan (12) celebrate a dunk by a teammate as practice wraps up on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Teams practiced and gave interviews to media members before Thursday's opening round games.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa and Kansas guard Chris Teahan (12) celebrate a dunk by a teammate as practice wraps up on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Teams practiced and gave interviews to media members before Thursday's opening round games. by Nick Krug

Silvio De Sousa wasn’t just the man of the hour in Lawrence when news broke on Friday that the NCAA had backed off its bizarre decision to ban him for a second season.

Nor was De Sousa only the man of the day, even though his name was the predominant topic of discussion throughout this Kansas basketball crazed city.

Welcome to the year of Silvio De Sousa.

Yes, the Jayhawks’ frontcourt depth went from solid to staggering with De Sousa’s addition. But the team is getting much more than an extra big body to occupy the paint. The rugged interior play of the 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward from Angola will no doubt prove crucial to KU’s success. Perhaps even more importantly on that front, though, De Sousa will carry with him an energetic aura powerful enough to influence his teammates.

De Sousa is a uniquely positive person. Always upbeat. Almost always smiling. That didn’t change during a lost sophomore season either. First while waiting to hear whether the NCAA might clear him this past season after looking into his guardian Fenny Falmagne's role in accepting money from a former Adidas executive who later was declared a KU booster, then dealing with the blow of the NCAA’s initial ruling that De Sousa would be ineligible for two straight seasons and then while waiting again, this time for the appeal process to play out, De Sousa, while challenged by it all, remained optimistic.

That didn’t go unnoticed by his KU teammates or coaches. They marveled throughout the ordeal about how De Sousa handled everything. And the way he kept working and battling in KU practices when no matter how good he looked it wouldn’t get him any in-game minutes.

Those types of displays are inspiring. De Sousa is someone his teammates will fight for and a player Bill Self and his assistants will continue to love coaching.

Speaking of love, now that he has won his appeal against the hated NCAA, you won’t be able to find many Jayhawks more treasured by the fan base than De Sousa. As difficult as it is for opponents to win inside Allen Fieldhouse on a yearly basis, wait until they try to pull that off during the 2019-20 season, when De Sousa’s powerful slams and hard-nosed plays inside will exponentially ignite the fans’ fervor.

Grateful to have his basketball career back when it seemed equally as likely as recently as Thursday that he would never again put on a KU uniform, De Sousa should play with more tenacity than ever. Sprinting harder on fast breaks. Diving after more loose balls. Combating anybody and everybody for rebounds. Toiling away and cherishing every second of it.

“All those days and nights wondering what would happen,” De Sousa said in a statement released by KU after the forward was cleared of his guardian’s wrongdoing, “this makes it all worth it.”

The months it took for KU and De Sousa’s lawyer to battle for this ultimately successful appeal have paid off. And with it the Jayhawks have De Sousa as their heart and soul of the rotation. The team needed an inspiring presence after a 2018-19 season that included the end to KU’s Big 12 title streak and a second-round exit from the NCAA Tournament.

De Sousa’s basketball skills alone don’t make him a savior. But with his determination, attitude and willingness to scrap, as well as the feel-good vibes of playing with a freed De Sousa fueling the Jayhawks around the inspired big man, Self should find it easier to get the most out of his roster next season, during De Sousa’s victory lap.

Comments

Jim Woodward 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Great article, I agree. I just signed up for season tickets.

Craig Carson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Can u imagine the ovation he's gonna get when he takes the court for the first time

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 2 weeks ago

A player this caliber, would bail out and play somewhere else to make real money (ref. Preston). But Silvio, he's a true Jayhawk for the aforementioned reason, and makes this upcoming season worth to spend every dime watching him in KU uniform. He's no doubt fans' favorite this season. A truely special young fella, and we're really really lucky to have him. This kid is gonna rock da House. I got chill reading the following:

"I'm so excited to be able to come back to Kansas to play and to continue my education. It's an amazing feeling. I want to thank the NCAA committee for the opportunity to do what I really want to do. All those days and nights wondering what would happen...this makes it all worth it. I also want to thank everyone at Kansas for working so hard to make sure I can follow my dream. Jayhawk Nation, I can't thank you all enough for the unconditional support and for sticking around throughout this. I tried to turn the year off into a blessing. I got to work on my game and my academics, and now I'm going to make the most of this opportunity."

I can smell Silvio's blood and sweat from miles away.. He will make this season the best season for KU - it's about time!!!!! Let's gooooooooooooooooo!!!!

Jesse Johnson 6 months, 1 week ago

Seniors: Dok, Lightfoot Juniors: De Sousa, Garrett Sophomores: Dotson, McCormack, Agbaji Freshman: Hampton, Enaruna, McBride, Braun, Wilson

We are going to have an amazing mix of experience and talent next year. It's going to be a special year.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 1 week ago

Jesse - And that’s still 1 scholarship short of a full roster.

Steve - While there’s not much about Billy’s situation that’s worth defending (taking $90k from a “booster”, buying bling auto to bring to campus, wrecking car, lying about romantic relationship with “booster” - mom), his leaving might have been the only smart move he made. When the truth came out (internally), it’s not hard to imagine a meeting that goes something like “Dude, you’re screwed. Nothing we can do for you here.” What do you think the penalty would have been for $90k?

Len Shaffer 6 months, 1 week ago

This season HAS to end in a championship now, right???

Mike Greer 6 months, 1 week ago

I'm certain opinions will differ, but I think Silvio will be the dominant player on the team this year. Thinking back to the last times he played, his athleticism and rebounding exceeded expectations and his teammates. Definitely one of my favorite players, that I'm very excited to have back.

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 1 week ago

You bet he will, Marius!! I can't imagine any coaches in the country that would let a victim-of-NCAA's-injustice athlete watch from the bench, again. But then again, there are coaches that might think he needs time to re-adjust while others think he's hungry, he's going to explode.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.