The Kansas men's basketball program picked up another big time commitment in the Class of 2018 on Sunday evening when four-star center David McCormack (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) chose the Jayhawks.
McCormack officially announced his decision during a live appearance on a local news broadcast in Virginia. With UCLA, NC State and Duke hats sitting on the table in front him, McCormack went for the shock-the-world approach by unbuttoning his dress shirt to reveal a Kansas basketball T-Shirt when it came time to make his pick.
"Kids dream of (this moment) all their childhood," McCormack said on WAVY 10's live broadcast. "I've been waiting on this moment, I've been blessed to be in this moment. I'm excited, kind of nervous and looking forward to a bright future."
With that, the elite center began to unbutton his shirt and said simply, "Next year, I decided I will attend Kansas University."
Asked why he chose KU, McCormack pointed to KU's coaching staff and strong tradition.
"Coach (Bill) Self is an amazing coach. He's great as far as player development, relationships, he's a winning coach, there's a lot of history behind Kansas... (I'm) looking forward to making more championships and more memories at Kansas."
McCormack also gave KU assistant coach Jerrance Howard some serious credit for helping him reach Sunday's decision.
"He was a great guy," McCormack said of Howard. "He made it an easy decision. He was very trustworthy."
McCormack, who made an unofficial visit to KU a month ago and has scheduled an official visit to Lawrence for next weekend's Late Night in the Phog, chose KU over finalists Duke, NC State, Oklahoma State, Xavier and UCLA.
McCormack joins five-star forward Silvio De Sousa (6-9, 245) in representing the starting point for KU's 2018 recruiting class, a group that Kansas coach Bill Self repeatedly has said could be one of the most important he has had at KU given the potential for as many as five or six players from the 2017-18 roster to leave KU after the upcoming season.
McCormack is the No. 26-ranked player in the 2018 class, according to 247 Sports and the No. 2-ranked center, who recruiting guru Jerry Meyer called "a beast down low."
Stay tuned for much more on McCormack's commitment.
The next couple of days will determine quite a bit about the Kansas basketball program’s 2018 recruiting class.
With 2018 big man Silvio De Sousa already committed, the Jayhawks will learn this weekend about the decisions of a couple more highly touted 2018 prospects.
Around 5 p.m. today, five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley will announce his decision from the gymnasium at John Carroll High in Bel Air, Maryland.
Quickley, who is ranked as the No. 2 point guard in the 2018 class, is expected to decide between Kansas, Kentucky and Miami.
Most have pegged the point guard as a Kentucky guy for months, with the Wildcats always being high on his list and the fact that he played for UK coach John Calipari with USA Basketball this summer both adding strength to that claim.
But one source familiar with Quickley’s recruiting told the Journal-World on Thursday that the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard ranked No. 10 overall by Rivals.com had no plans to let even the coaches know before his big announcement.
That obviously could have changed this morning, but, either way, Quickley will end the suspense — if there really is any — this evening.
His announcement, as well as a mini documentary of his journey to decision day, will be carried live on Facebook and will begin at 5 p.m.
Today also is Quickley’s mother’s birthday. Not a bad little birthday present for mom.
Regardless of what decision Quickley makes — pro-KU or otherwise — the Jayhawks will not have to wait long for another big announcement.
Five-star center David McCormack, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound beast from Oak Hill Academy, plans to reveal his decision at 5 p.m. Sunday on live television in Virginia, according to his AAU program’s Twitter feed, @teamloadedaau.
Although he has a final list of six schools (Duke, Kansas, NC State, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Xavier) McCormack likely will be deciding between Kansas, Xavier and NC State, the three schools which he has visited.
McCormack, No. 33 overall in the 2018 class per Rivals, averaged 10.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game as a junior at Oak Hill and 14.8 and 9.8 for Team Loaded this spring and summer on the AAU circuit.
It’s interesting that McCormack’s announcement will come before his official visit to KU, which is set for next weekend, coinciding with Late Night.
As it stands now, if the big man who was a teammate of current KU forward Billy Preston’s at Oak Hill last year picks somewhere other than Kansas, that visit may not happen. But if he picks Kansas, which pretty much every recruiting analyst out there expects to be the case, McCormack’s visit for Late Night will serve as one heck of a way to celebrate his big decision.
Adding McCormack to a class that starts with Silvio De Sousa (6-9, 245) would be a clear indication that the Jayhawks have shored up their front court situation for the 2018-19 season.
Even if Preston and sophomore big man Udoka Azubuike leave for the NBA after the upcoming season, the Jayhawks would hit the floor the following season with a big-man rotation that includes De Sousa, McCormack, Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson and would-be-junior Mitch Lightfoot, by far KU’s deepest and most talented frontcourt since the 2015-16 season.
I know no one really cares at this point. And I’m not sure anyone should.
But since I wrote roughly 3,543,267 words about him this summer and most of you read every one, I felt compelled to put a neat and tidy bow on the mess that is Mitchell Robinson.
Surely, you remember the name.
If not, here’s a brief recap: McDonald’s All-American and Top 10 player in the 2017 class who committed to Western Kentucky only to leave Western Kentucky after his godfather left the coaching staff. He had already committed to Texas A&M before that but followed A&M assistant Rick Stansbury to WKU when Stansbury got the job.
After asking for his release after his godfather left, Robinson visited LSU only to have them back off. Then visited Kansas only to have them back off. And also visited the University of New Orleans during that time. Two of the three were close to his hometown in Louisiana so that made sense and, well, Kansas is Kansas.
But after all of that, after dragging out his visits and his decision and flirting with the idea of going overseas or sitting out the season entirely to prepare for the 2018 NBA Draft, Robinson went back to Western Kentucky, where he knew with 100 percent certainty that he would be eligible to play.
That is, until he didn’t.
Sunday afternoon, the 7-foot projected lottery pick told Evan Daniels of Scout.com that he was starting the whole thing over again.
OK. That might not be exactly what he said. And, hopefully for everyone’s sake, he’s not going to go through something as wild and crazy as his wishy washy summer. But he is leaving WKU for the second time.
“I’ve decided to leave Western Kentucky and just focus on next year’s NBA Draft,” Robinson told Daniels. “I want to thank Western Kentucky, the coaching staff, the fans and my teammates, but I decided to pursue a professional career.”
Added Robinson’s mother: “He’s strictly focusing on training in Dallas. He has another plan and it’s training.”
I won’t bore you with the why or the how or even the huh? of all of this.
It just seemed like a travesty for those of you who wasted so much time reading up on Robinson’s decision(s) to not know how things ended up.
“The lifetime goal of mine is to play in the NBA and I feel like forgoing my year of college and going straight to work on a day to day basis will help prepare me, so I can focus just on basketball and maturing,” Robinson told Daniels. “I just want to get better and just grow as a person.”
When it comes to talking to the media about their current teams, coaches, in all sports, often refrain from dealing in absolutes.
Kansas football coach David Beaty and his “earn it” philosophy is a great example, with nothing being promised to anyone and every player on his roster having to earn his spot day after day, week after week.
Even Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, whose roster always has both more talent and stability than Beaty’s, has been known to dabble in the art of the uncertainty, whether when discussing potential starting lineups or how he’ll divvy up the minutes between a trio of big men.
But when it comes to recruiting, things can get a lot more concrete in a hurry. And while it’s never the coaches who make it that way — for one, it’s against NCAA rules for them to comment on recruits and, for two, they likely wouldn’t change their approach anyway — their messages to recruits of all shapes, sizes and rankings often get out.
Take Class of 2018 point guard Devon Dotson, for example.
Fresh off an official visit to KU’s campus a couple of weeks ago, the five-star point guard from Charlotte hosted Kansas coach Bill Self and KU assistant Norm Roberts at his home last night, merely the latest in an incredibly busy week of in-home visits for the KU staff.
In addition to all of the regular stuff that he they found out about during Dotson's official visit to campus — from talk about academics and the support staff to questions about where they’ll live, what they’ll eat and how closely they’ll be monitored — the Dotson family, according to Dotson's father Dana, liked what they heard from Self and Roberts during the visit, which featured a series of follow-up questions and inquiries from the Dotson family.
“They believe he's the starting PG from day one,” Dana Dotson told Matt Scott of 247 Sports site TheShiver.com. “He stressed that over and over.”
A couple of things about that comment are important to remember.
First, it’s not a promise or a guarantee. You’ll notice that the father said, “They believe...” That does not mean they said, “We promise you he’ll start at point guard.” Instead, it means that based on the younger Dotson’s talent and skills and KU’s need at the position, the coaches think and hope that the young man, should he pick Kansas, would be a guy they could plug into the starting point guard role right away so long as he put in the work and picked up the system enough to handle the job. Pretty standard stuff, but still important to note.
Second, this is not a case of a coaching staff telling a kid and his family what they want to hear. Because of their blue blood status and all of the interest from so many of the top-ranked players in each class, the Kansas coaching staff does not have to operate that way. They can be — and always are — 100 percent up-front and honest, for better or worse, with these recruits during the entire process. Sometimes that honesty is exactly what an athlete and his family want and need to hear. Other times it has turned people off and left them looking to go in a different direction.
Which direction Dotson goes remains to be seen. But, between the official visit to Lawrence and the in-home visit Thursday night, the Jayhawks appear to be in as good a shape as anybody in their pursuit of the 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard who is ranked No. 17 nationally by Rivals.com.
“(It went) great,” Dana Dotson told Scott when asked about the visit. “Coach Self talked about why Kansas is the best fit for Devon. A lot of talk about the vision for Devon and what is, and should be, important for Devon and how Kansas fits those wants.”
Dotson and his family will visit Florida this weekend and many recruiting analysts believe the recruitment of the Charlotte point guard is down to a three-team race between KU, Florida and Maryland.
It’s been a wild week for the Kansas basketball coaching staff, with trips all over the country for in-home visits and check-ins with prospects in the Class of 2018 and beyond.
And while KU coach Bill Self and his staff clearly are used to the grind that is year-round recruiting, it’s also clear that they’re leaving little to chance with the current class, which Self, on numerous occasions, has said could be one of the most important classes in his 15 years at Kansas.
Take the case of Class of 2018 shooting guard Quentin Grimes, for example.
Grimes, the 6-foot-5, five-star prospect from The Woodlands, Texas, who has narrowed his list down to a final four of Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette and Texas, hosted all four schools for in-home visits this week and recently broke down those experiences with Eric Bossi of Rivals.com.
While it’s obvious that all four schools are very much still in the running — not to mention that they all can offer Grimes many of the same things in terms of playing time and on-court opportunities — it’s also clear that the constant connection between Grimes and the coaches and genuine relationships he has built with all four programs is what helped Grimes trim his list to these four.
It's hard to say exactly where each program stands after the in-home visits. Grimes had great things to say about all four programs and clearly has a great deal of respect for the coaches and the way each staff has recruited him thus far.
But a break down of the major selling point for each school in a couple of sentences looks something like this:
Kansas – The Jayhawks have been aggressive, flat-out telling Grimes they think he’s the best guard in the class and that they are not going to take no for an answer.
“They were real straight up and straightforward with me that I’m the best guard in the country,” Grimes told Bossi. “They basically told me that I have to sign with them.... They said they have to get me, they were very clear on that.”
Kentucky – Kentucky is really pushing their all-star roster and how that will help make him better. Grimes also noted that the Wildcats have “turned it up over the last month.”
“Their practices stand out because of all the other five-star players you go against and that you have to get better because of the competition,” Grimes told Bossi of the Wildcats. “They can help me reach my goals."
Marquette – For Marquette, it’s all about painting Grimes as the player who can put them over the top and get the program to the next level.
“During the previous visit in April they were consistent with the message that I’m the only guard they are recruiting and they showed that,” Grimes told Bossi. “They feel like I’m the missing piece to them making the next step and making a Final Four."
Texas – Shaka Smart is really emphasizing keeping Texas talent in Texas while also, like Kansas, pointing out that there’s a solid point-guard in waiting (KU’s Charlie Moore and UT’s Matt Coleman) with whom Grimes would fit perfectly.
“The uniqueness of knowing Matt Coleman and what he does and having a good relationship with him; he would be a sophomore and I would be a freshman and knowing him and that system could be an edge to set them apart,” Grimes told Bossi.
Self and assistant coach Jerrance Howard have handled the point on Grimes’ recruitment and, with official visits still to come, the Jayhawks have positioned themselves as well as possible with Grimes.
He has talked a lot about how someone from KU has contacted him pretty much every day of late and how the relationship aspect of his recruitment would play a huge role in his decision.
Grimes’ official visit dates are expected to be announced later this week and he is expected to make trips to all four of his finalists by the end of October.
As for when he might pick a program, the No. 11-ranked player in the 2018 class does not appear to interested in rushing a decision.
“Whenever the timing is right I will do it," Grimes told Bossi. “Waiting is an option. If I go take my visits and feel like I need to take unofficials and see them again I could do that. I’m not in a rush. Definitely the relationship with the coaches, I feel like that’s the most important thing. I'm going to have to be the coach on the court so I have to have a relationship with him because he’s expecting a lot and you have to be on the same page.”
According to multiple reports that came in late Tuesday night, the Kansas men’s basketball coaching staff, which made an in-home visit with top-ranked Class of 2018 prospect Zion Williamson on Tuesday night, left Williamson’s South Carolina home with the knowledge that they’d see him again in a couple of weeks.
When that time comes, it will be on KU’s turf, as Williamson told Kansas coaches Bill Self and Kurtis Townsend that he planned to make an official visit to the KU campus the weekend of Late Night, which is slated for Sept. 30 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Williamson will be one of nearly two dozen official and unofficial visitors to make the trek to the Fieldhouse for the first official practice of the 2017-18 season later this month. Some of the notable attendees expected to visit for Late Night include: Jalen Carey (2018), David McCormack (2018), Zach Harvey (2019), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (2019), Malik Hall (2019), Samuell Williamson (2019), N'faly Dante (2020), Bryce Thompson (2020), R.J. Hampton (2020), Ty Berry (2020) and Markese Jacobs, the already-committed Class of 2019 point guard from Chicago.
As for Williamson, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound, do-it-all forward also has official visits set up at Kentucky (Sept. 22), Duke (Oct. 22) and UCLA (Oct. 27) and does not appear to have any desire to rush his decision.
“I said this before, but as far as lists and things like that I don’t see myself doing all that,” he wrote in a recent USA Today blog. “Once I feel like I’ve found the college and it feels right for me and my family I’m just gonna announce it. I don’t really have a timetable for my decision. It’s just whenever it feels right.”
Wherefore art thou?
Adam Zagoria, of zagsblog.com, reported on Tuesday afternoon that the KU coaching staff was expected to visit Class of 2018 shooting guard Romeo Langford at his school in New Albany, Indiana, on Thursday.
Langford, the No. 6-ranked player in the class according to Rivals.com, is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard who also is expected to host in-home visits with Louisville and UCLA later this week.
According to Zagoria, Indiana and Vanderbilt also visited Langford’s school this week. Also Thursday, KU has a scheduled in-home visit with five-star, Class of 2018 point guard Devon Dotson, who recently made an official visit to Lawrence.
It already has been a busy week for the Kansas coaching staff, which has made trips all over the country to check in with recruits and conduct in-home visits.
On Tuesday that included a quick stop in Little Elm, Texas, to watch a workout by R.J. Hampton, the No. 3 player in the Class of 2020 according to Rivals.com.
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound point guard on Tuesday Tweeted his thank-yous to coaching staffs from TCU, Texas, KU and Michigan for watching him and his team workout.
Hampton is one of more than a dozen underclassmen planning to make an unofficial visit to KU for Late Night in the Phog later this month.
As part of an ongoing project with USA Today, Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall recruit in the high school basketball Class of 2018, per 247 Sports’ composite rankings, recently dropped Part VI of his online blog with the paper.
Included in this latest edition was a detailed entry about his recent recruiting talks with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and a little info about a trip to Disney World and the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Williamson, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound, do-it-all forward who sits very high on the wish list of the Kansas basketball program, did not mention Kansas by name in this entry, but did discuss his recruitment in general.
“It’s been great getting to know all of the coaches that are recruiting me,” he wrote. “I know that the reality is that the coaches can just tell me what I want to hear because they want me to come to their school so I’ve started to ask hard questions.”
With official visits set up at Duke (Oct. 22) and UCLA (Oct. 27), Williamson no doubt will have much more time then to ask all the questions he wants.
But, according to Matt Scott, of TheShiver.com, the highly coveted small forward will get a chance to ask plenty of questions of the KU coaching staff as soon as tonight, when Bill Self and Kurtis Townsend are expected to be in Spartanburg, S.C., tonight for an in-home visit with Williamson.
This, on the same day that KU assistant coach Norm Roberts was expected to make quick check-ins with Class of 2019 guard Zach Harvey, in Topeka, and Class of 2019 forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, at nearby Bishop Miege High.
Although the in-home visit is an important part of any recruiting process — parents love to see how these coaches operate on their turf and in a family setting — there’s little doubt that the KU coaching staff is hoping to come away from the trip to South Carolina having set an official visit date for Williamson to Kansas.
While Williamson has received an offer or interest from nearly every major program in the country and will bring elite-level athleticism and explosiveness, along with a certain amount of toughness, to whatever school he picks, he does not appear to be in any particular hurry to put the recruiting process behind him.
I said this before, but as far as lists and things like that I don’t see myself doing all that,” he wrote in the USA Today blog. “Once I feel like I’ve found the college and it feels right for me and my family I’m just gonna announce it. I don’t really have a timetable for my decision. It’s just whenever it feels right.”
With Hall of Fame week and the overwhelming emotions of being inducted and celebrated by assistants and players from every step of his coaching journey now behind him, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self can again move on to the business at hand.
In the immediate, that means getting back to recruiting full-time, an endeavor that is as important this year as any because of the potential for KU to lose as many as 5 or 6 players to the NBA Draft and graduation after the 2017-18 season.
Fresh off of his return from Springfield, Mass., where on Saturday, during a private ceremony one day after his induction, Self received his Hall of Fame ring, the Kansas coach will be in The Woodlands, Texas, today, conducting an in-home visit with five-star guard Quentin Grimes.
“I've got a lot of nice rings,” Self said Saturday. “But I don't know if I have any nicer than this. It is nice and it was nice to sit on the stage with all those greats. I'm still kind of blown away by the experience but this is something I will cherish and I'm sure my family will, too."
Today, it’s all about the next big step in adding Grimes to the Kansas basketball family.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound Grimes recently wrapped up in-home visits with Kentucky, Marquette and Texas, but many believe the Jayhawks are the team to beat in his recruitment.
“This is one where I think BillSelf and his staff are considered the leaders headed into visits,” Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi recently wrote. “And I like where they stand.”
Borzello also reported that the Jayhawks this week were expected to make an in-home visit with fellow five-star guard Devon Dotson, the 6-1, 180-pound point guard from Charlotte who visited KU’s campus a couple of weeks ago.
Shay Wildeboor, of JayhawkSlant.com reported Monday that the Dotson visit will take place Thursday and Borzello indicated that the elite point guard also plans to host Florida, UCLA and Maryland this week after conducting an in-home visit with Clemson last weekend.
“There’s a decent chance that Kansas could get both Dotson and Grimes,” Bossi wrote. “If it doesn’t get both, though, I’d be pretty surprised if it didn’t get at least one of the two.”
Dotson and Grimes are just two on a long list of Kansas targets in the 2018 class, but, with both ranked in the Top 20 in the Rivals 150 (Grimes, No. 11, Dotson No. 17) they are two of the higher-profile players the Jayhawks are pursuing to add to a class that already includes five-star big man Silvio De Sousa.
Another such player is 6-foot-3, 175-pound point guard Immanuel Quickley, who visited Kansas two weekends ago and was slated to head to Miami (Fla.) and Kentucky after that.
Not much has been learned about Quickley’s visit to KU and his trip to Miami was postponed last weekend because of Hurricane Irma.
Given that Quickley is expected to visit Kentucky this weekend — and the Wildcats are Quickley’s Crystal Ball leader, at 100 percent, according to 247 Sports — it will be interesting to see if the Miami visit gets rescheduled.
Quickley has said he would like to make his decision before the start of his senior season at John Carroll High in Bel Air, Maryland.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has talked often about the importance of the KU football program, both for the overall health of the university and for his basketball program.
Because so many key recruiting weekends take place during football season, Self has expressed his desire for Memorial Stadium to be rocking when he and his staff bring visitors to town, many of them elite, high-profile, top-tier talent.
One such player will be in town this weekend, and, thanks to the celebration of the 10-year reunion of the 2008 Orange Bowl championship that is slated for Saturday’s game, he figures to see a better football atmosphere than most basketball recruits have during the past six or seven seasons.
Whether that, combined with what he sees and learns about the KU hoops program, will be enough to entice five-star guard Immanuel Quickley to pick Kansas or not remains to be seen. But it certainly cannot hurt and the scene at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night figures to be as good as any we’ve seen since the men who are being honored that night were lighting up scoreboards and opponents on a regular basis.
As for Quickley, his KU visit kicks off a stretch of three consecutive weeks in which he will visit his three remaining finalists. After visiting Lawrence this weekend, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound point guard from John Carroll High in Bel Air, Md., will travel to Miami (Fla.) next week and visit Kentucky the week after.
Quickley currently is ranked in the No. 9 overall slot in the 247 Sports composite rankings and No. 10 in the 2018 class by Rivals.com.
The 247 Sports crystal ball prediction lists Kentucky as the 100 percent favorite at the moment. But it’s worth noting here that Maryland was a 100 percent crystal ball pick for 2018 big man Silvio De Sousa less than a week ago and, as you all surely know by now, De Sousa committed to Kansas earlier this week.
So you never really know how these things are going to play out. Is Kentucky the favorite? Probably. Is KU a long shot? Perhaps. But as one of Quickley’s three finalists and with a shot to sell him on the Kansas campus, you have to think KU is at least genuinely in the mix until otherwise noted.
Matt Scott, of 247 Sports site TheShiver.com, recently wrote that it’s his belief that Quickley will make a decision shortly after his visit to Kentucky.
In early August, about three weeks before Quickley named KU, Kentucky and Miami as his final three, Scott provided this detailed look at the Jayhawks’ pursuit of the point guard.
“Quickley is a lethal guard that is explosive with the ball and great at setting up his teammates,” Scott wrote. “He has a good pull up game, can hit shots from behind the arc and is strong with both hands. And, yes, he’s quick too.... KU’s chances are low here. They could improve with his visit to Kansas, but with two visits immediately following his trip to Lawrence it seems that KU is on the outside looking in.”
Add to that tidbit the fact that Quickley, himself, once called Kentucky the leader for his services, and it seems like it’s going to take a heck of a weekend for the Jayhawks to pull Quickley all the way into their corner.
Still, he will be on campus and the KU coaches and players — along with the football team and Memorial Stadium crowd — will have a couple of days to put their best foot forward and show Quickley why Kansas is the place for him.
When Class of 2018 big man Silvio De Sousa arrived in Lawrence last weekend for his official campus visit, it marked the beginning of something for which the native of Angola had been waiting a long time.
The chance to play college basketball, De Sousa knew, would come in time and there was no doubt in his mind that he would have plenty of quality offers from first-class programs to mull over when making decision about where to attend school.
But there was always something about Kansas that stuck in De Sousa’s mind.
Perhaps it was the past success and buzz that surrounded former KU players Joel Embiid and Cheick Diallo, both African-born players who made a big impact during their lone seasons at Kansas and now are playing in the NBA.
“I never got a chance to meet them,” De Sousa told the Journal-World on Wednesday of Embiid, who hails from Cameroon, and Diallo, who came to the U.S. from Mali. “But I know who they are and that’s one of the things that made me move on to Kansas. They had such great success there and it seemed to be a good fit for them.”
And while that did not hurt the way the 6-foot-9, 244-pound Angolan viewed the KU program, something more recent that took Lawrence by storm sparked in De Sousa visions of his name on the back of a KU jersey and him calling Lawrence home for a while.
“I always looked forward to getting an offer from Kansas and ever since Josh Jackson committed to Kansas I told myself I could be the next one-and-done there,” De Sousa said Wednesday after sharing the news that he had committed to KU. “I had a lot of offers and stuff like that but I decided to keep quiet and just let everything come in time.”
That “everything” arrived earlier this year, when KU officially offered De Sousa a scholarship at the outset of the summer AAU season. And it reached an exciting conclusion when De Sousa committed to the Kansas coaches before he left town last Sunday.
Set to turn 19 on Oct. 7, De Sousa is not in any way new to basketball. He began playing at age 9 and, according to those who have seen him in action, has a feel for the game and versatile skill set that bring to mind thoughts of a polished prep standout.
ESPN broadcaster Fran Fraschilla — a former head coach at Manhattan, St. John’s and New Mexico — told the Journal-World this week that De Sousa was “destined to play in the NBA,” but the power forward who has been compared to former KU star Thomas Robinson and, going way back, to former Alabama beast Antonio McDyess, does not appear at all focused on anything other than what’s in front of him at Kansas.
“I told Coach Bill (Self) Kansas is the place where I want to be and I made my decision when I was there,” De Sousa said Wednesday. “I met all of the team when I was there. I knew a couple of guys; we played against each other sometimes, with the national team, so I kind of knew them and they were real cool with me. They made me feel like I had been there for the past three years.”
With that vibe fresh in his mind, thoughts of Embiid and Diallo permanently planted there and the image of Jackson becoming a star and jumping to the NBA as the No. 4 overall pick in last June’s draft, the case for KU was too strong for De Sousa to pass up.
Asked if he would sum up his recruitment by saying that things worked out exactly the way he had hoped, De Sousa answered without hesitating.
“It really did,” he said. “I’m excited to get to Kansas.”