Kansas basketball coach Bill Self dubs the Silvio De Sousa waiting game, 'beyond frustration'
From his own temporary posts on Instagram that express his frustration to the tired tone in his head coach’s voice, the Silvio De Sousa waiting game appears to be taking its toll on the Kansas basketball program.
While both De Sousa and the Jayhawks remain hopeful that the NCAA will provide some kind of answer regarding his eligibility for the remainder of the 2018-19 season, waiting on that answer continues to be a disappointing endeavor.
Asked Wednesday night on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show if there were any update on De Sousa’s status, Kansas coach Bill Self once again had nothing new to report.
“No, no. It’s beyond frustration,” Self said. “And if we’re frustrated, imagine what the kid is. But he’s handled it beautifully.”
Although De Sousa has continued to work hard in practice and kept a good attitude around his teammates, Self said the sophomore forward who no doubt would provide the Jayhawks with a big lift for the final 10 games of the regular season if he were cleared, continues to struggle with the situation more and more each week.
A couple of weeks ago, Self characterized De Sousa as “crushed” by the situation. On Wednesday night, he went into a little more detail.
“He comes in every day and asks what’s new and comes in happy and leaves out sad, it seems like, because we don’t have any information to tell him,” Self said. “We’re still holding out hope that we’ll have information for him, but it’s been very disappointing that we haven’t been told anything yet. I’m sure that in whoever’s mind, there’s good reason that’s the case. But, for the youngster’s sake, it’s certainly been very frustrating.”
Meanwhile, De Sousa, who has not been made available for interviews since KU’s media day back in October, has posted temporary messages on Instagram during the past several days, all falling under the theme of begging someone to make some kind of decision.
However, even if that decision came back today and was positive for De Sousa and Kansas, Self cautioned against expecting too much too soon from the power forward from Angola.
In short, De Sousa might, for a week or two anyway, more closely resemble the player who struggled last winter than the player who helped the Jayhawks big time in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments last March.
“He’s gotten better, there’s no question,” Self said. “But the reality of it is you can grow and get better but you can’t really practice him with the first group unless you have a good hunch that he would be declared eligible because you’d be taking reps away from guys that need that.”
“We don’t have the depth to practice 2 and a half hours every day. So he’s been basically with the scout team. And his attitude’s been great and he’s picked that stuff up really quickly. So he’ll be better because one thing that he’s learned how to do is he can (is understand), ‘OK, Iowa State runs this and he’ll remember how to run it, or Oklahoma does this,’ and for him to have to force himself to remember how all these other teams do things, that will help him with executing what we’re trying to do.”
But running scout team offense and trying to help a struggling Kansas offense on game night are two completely different things, Self said.
“The reality of it is, there’s no pressure playing on the scout team,” the coach explained. “If you throw it away, it’s not like it’s the end of the Earth. And getting guys to play the same way they would with Dedric (Lawson), when you’re playing with walk-ons, is a little bit different. Because on the scout team he knows he’s got to score or do whatever and sometimes you can develop some bad habits.”
Noting that he was speaking with more than a little blind faith, Self added: “Whenever he’s told that he could play, if that day ever comes, it’s still going to take a while before he’s ready to step in and be an impact guy. … If it does happen, it’s still not going to happen overnight, as far as impact. But we have no indication it’s going to happen, though, although we still ask every day and (are) holding out hope.”