KU's Silvio De Sousa confident he'll be able to play next season
Whether watching him, talking to him or hearing it from others, it’s clear that Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa’s mind is fixed on one thing this summer — improving his game so he’ll be ready for a big sophomore season.
With his name covered by the cloud of the FBI investigation into college basketball since April, when a superseding federal indictment linked him — not by name, but by commitment date — to the investigation, De Sousa on Tuesday morning spoke briefly about his feelings regarding the 2018-19 season during a break from helping out at Washburn basketball camp in Topeka.
“Of course, I’m confident I’m going to play this year,” De Sousa said. “No worries at all.”
Last week, KU coach Bill Self said he felt KU was "in a good place" regarding De Sousa's eligibility and role on the team.
Asked Tuesday if having the issue circling him had been a distraction of any type, De Sousa said he actually had thought very little about it — “not even for a little bit,” he noted — and, instead, has been focused on working on his game and trying to be ready for his second season with the Jayhawks.
“Right now, I’m just trying to focus and get everybody around me better,” he added.
De Sousa’s ability to do just that has been made easier by the three-month introduction to college basketball that came at the end of the 2017-18 season.
On campus in time for the second semester, when the Jayhawks were playing nothing but Big 12 games en route to making their run to the 2018 Final Four, De Sousa delivered an up-and-down performance for weeks and clearly had a tough time adjusting to the higher level. But after turning the corner in early March at the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., the 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward, from Angola by way of IMG Academy, became one of the key contributors to KU’s run to San Antonio.
“Oh, I think coming here early helped me a lot,” De Sousa said Tuesday. “It helped me get used to the game and get used to the speed. Right now, I just feel a lot (more) comfortable and everything is just normal for me.”
Nothing about De Sousa’s demeanor seemed any different on Tuesday than it did during his first semester with Kansas, when he showed himself right away to be a friendly and likable young man who never seemed too frustrated by the time it took him to adjust to KU and find his role.
If anything, De Sousa seems even more comfortable today than he did late last season, a reality that likely is the product of his ever-improving game and status as a returning contributor on one of the top-ranked teams in college basketball.
Naturally, De Sousa’s coaches and teammates have played a big role in pushing him this offseason, much the way they helped him settle in a season ago. He, in turn, is trying to return the favor.
“We’ve been going hard at each other,” said De Sousa, echoing the thoughts of KU freshman Quentin Grimes, who said Tuesday that the intensity of KU’s workouts had stood out most to him so far this summer. “I’m just trying to take everything I learned from last year and give it to the guys that are coming up right now, trying to help them get better.
“Right here in college, I learned that everybody’s the same size, everybody’s strong and everybody can play hard.”