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KU's Silvio De Sousa confident he'll be able to play next season

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Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) celebrates following the JayhawksÕ 81-70 win over the Mountaineers in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament, Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) celebrates following the JayhawksÕ 81-70 win over the Mountaineers in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament, Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

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.”

Comments

Bryce Landon 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I certainly hope Silvio will be allowed to play next year.

More importantly, I hope we can keep our Final Four banner from last year.

Jesse Johnson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

And our National Title banner for this year if he plays :)

Ryan Zimmerman 4 months, 3 weeks ago

How is he that confident? I mean I hope he is and plays, but it seemed pretty doom and gloom once the initial FBI thing came out...

And does that mean Mitch will redshirt if Silvio does play?

Gerry Butler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Could be that he is that confident because he is actually innocent. - It's called letting the process play out -- innocent until proven guilty. - I feel pretty sure he will play for KU this year

Ryan Zimmerman 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not sure the innocent until proven guilty worked very well for Diallo. Or for Billy.

Marius Rowlanski 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Diallo's career at Kansas is an enigma to me. The Pelicans drafted him at #33 and have picked up the third year of his contract but he couldn't break into the Kansas lineup. He should have earned about 5 million over three years and is only 22 years old. Diallo will be fine.

Craig Carson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Silvio himself can be innocent..but according to NCAA rules, noone associated with a player can receive any financial benefits from anyone in regards to a players recruitment..if it is proven that his guardian took $$, even if Silvio didnt know, the NCAA might see that as enough to rule him ineligible...if I were KU, id be pressing the NCAA to make a ruling before the season so they know if its safe to play him

Brad Farha 4 months, 2 weeks ago

The Cam Newton scenario calls that rationale into question.

Craig Carson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

from what I understand, the NCAA closed that loophole (player unaware of actions by others)..only saving grace would be if the FBI chooses not to share its findings or the fact that there are so many schools implicated that the NCAA might decide to take it easy on the violation penalties

Jason Venable 4 months, 3 weeks ago

This absolutely has to be the season Self and Co. win a NC. If Mitch did red-shirt it would suck for him not being able to play. Then again, almost too many bigs for playing time. I'd like to see time split to 25mins for starters and 15mins for players coming off the bench. Keep those legs fresh and everyone gets substantial playing time. Our bench is stacked full of talent.

Marius Rowlanski 4 months, 3 weeks ago

If there wasn't any confidence by either Self or Sousa, he would have gone to the NBA combines.

I admit that I could be reading more into it than I should but I don't see Self trying to dissuade Sousa from leaving if he didn't believe Sousa would be eligible.

I don't know what happens with Mitch but I'm pretty sure it will be his decision to redshirt or not. I see him playing at the three next season and filling in as needed by the bigs.

Robert Brock 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Silvio is not charged with anything. Nor is Bill Self. Nor is KU.

Craig Carson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Silvio could be as clean as the driven snow, but if his guardian DID in fact take $$ to sway him to Maryland and its proven, that will be enough for the NCAA to disqualify him and make KU vacate all games he played in..it doesnt matter if he didnt end up going to Maryland..if a players Parent, cousins, siblings, uncles or in this case, guardians benefited financially in any way, that is usually enough to get the player in trouble..even if its proven they had no idea what went on..the fact that Adidas has been involved only makes it worse...I want the kid to play too..he is uber talented and seems like a good kid, but if it means KU vacating games, then id rather they not play him and force the NCAA to make a ruling before the season

Adam Bengtson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I find it comical about Lightfoot redshirting. A year ago we couldn't find a big man off the street, now were talking about red-shirting?

sheesh.....he is not redshirting. Makes no sense.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 months, 2 weeks ago

but he'd be 5th on the depth chart most likely...

Joseph Bullock 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I remember a while back that Duke had a situation where someone took something, but the player didn’t know, and he was able to play. There have also been times where players had to pay back money, sit out ‘X’ amount of games, then were able to play, so that may also apply to a guardian. The reality is that none of us know, so there is no point worrying about it. Remember, the FBI said KU was a ‘Victim’!

Craig Carson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

im hoping the NCAA at the worst just makes Silvio sit a few games..Id rather KU not have to vacate anything

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