Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bill Self: KU in ‘good place’ with Silvio De Sousa’s eligibility

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) and Duke forward Javin DeLaurier (12) fight for a ball during the second half, Sunday, March 25, 2018 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) and Duke forward Javin DeLaurier (12) fight for a ball during the second half, Sunday, March 25, 2018 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.


It’s been more than two months since a federal indictment alleged the guardians of two unnamed University of Kansas basketball players — widely believed to be current KU big man Silvio De Sousa and former forward Billy Preston — received illegal payments in a scandal orchestrated by an Adidas executive.

But nothing that has transpired since leads head coach Bill Self to think De Sousa will be ineligible to play as a sophomore this coming season.

Speaking with reporters inside Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday afternoon, Self was asked about his understanding of the extent to which the FBI’s findings had been shared with the NCAA, and whether he was confident De Sousa could still play.

“I haven’t heard one thing to the contrary with any of our guys,” Self began. “Now that doesn’t mean that that can’t happen. But I haven’t heard one thing to the contrary — all our guys were cleared by the NCAA. They were eligible last year and we haven’t heard anything that that was not the case still.”

The superseding indictment alleges two KU players received money. In the case of the first player, whose family was alleged to have received $90,000, it states the agreement to pay the family was made in or around October 2016 “shortly after the student-athlete, who was considered one of the top recruits in his class, unofficially committed to attend the University of Kansas.”

On Oct. 1, 2016, Preston attended KU’s “Late Night in the Phog” event. He then officially committed to KU in November. Preston never played in a regular-season game for KU during the 2017-18 season, and he hopes to hear his name called in this week’s NBA Draft following a January departure from KU.

In the case of the second player, whose guardian allegedly received at least a $20,000 payment through Adidas executive Jim Gatto, the indictment states the player announced on Aug. 30, 2017 his intentions to attend KU, and that’s the day De Sousa announced his commitment in an interview with the Journal-World.

Although Self stated neither he nor the university have access to all the details surrounding the allegations, he painted an optimistic picture regarding De Sousa.

“Based on what we’ve been told,” he said, “right now we’re in a good place.”

De Sousa, who played in 20 games for KU this past season, has been on campus this summer taking classes and working out with the team. He’s expected to be a major contributor in the Jayhawks’ frontcourt during the 2018-19 season.

“What we’ve read is the same thing as everybody else has read,” Self said. “But to the extent of how that translates to eligibility, we haven’t been told anything on that.”

KU’s 16th-year head coach concluded his discussion of the 6-foot-9 forward from Angola by asserting his belief that De Sousa will be eligible for his upcoming sophomore season.

“And I know Silvio is very confident on it,” Self added.


Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 3 months ago

Sounds good enough to me. The FBI case is falling apart anyway with their so called “undercovers” not keeping the books properly. The “CW” in Silvio’s case, pleaded guilty to a charge not even alleged on his side of the indictment. There’s been plenty of hand wringing and angst; and the whole thing is way overblown. One of these days maybe, the federal govt. will figure out there are real crimes out there to prosecute, and avoid getting played by their own people.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 3 months ago

So we can keep our 2018 Final Four banner?

Tony Bandle 4 years, 3 months ago

Yep...but let's just forget about the game we played once we got there!!

Craig Carson 4 years, 3 months ago

I certainly hope so..Id hate for KU to hang the banner only to have to take it back down

Bill Pitcher 4 years, 3 months ago

Fine point admittedly, but I believe the indictment's facts are that the players' families received the money, not the player, and that the money was paid after not before the player committed and without the knowledge of anyone connected to the school or the program. If one listened to the initial reports, it sounded like cash was paid to the player conditioned on him committing to a particular school.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't share Self's optimism on this case. Especially after what happened with Billy Preston last season.

But coach is saying exactly what I would expect him to say.

Lance Cheney 4 years, 3 months ago

I think we've learned that Bill Self's comments on these matters are pretty much useless and inaccurate. See the Billy Preston saga from last year...

Craig Carson 4 years, 3 months ago

I think Self knew Preston was never gonna play.. i think he just wanted to spare Billy and his moms feelings as well as any embarrassment by not putting that out there

Joe Ross 4 years, 3 months ago

Man, Lance. I want SO BADLY to be able to disagree with you on this. But we heard for weeks that we'd be getting good news on De Sousa AND Billy Preston before the mood soured concerning Billy into "we don't know when". Of course, the positive news on De Sousa ( "positive" when looking forward at that time) DID come about as Self said, so he wasn't 100% wrong. But the ambiguity around the Preston situation when we were hearing from Self that he was confident that we'd get "good news" concerning Preston gives one enough cause to be concerned about Self's assessment of future cases going forward. The news on Preston could not have been construed positively at all, especially if Self had any inkling about Billy then on the level of what we know today. I have to agree with you.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 3 months ago

I think you could be absolutely right, Craig. Obviously, there was more involved with Billy Preston than just the issue of the car that was involved in an accident.

In a way, it may have been a blessing that the accident occurred. Had it not, Billy would have played and likely later declared ineligible, thereby causing greater "forfeiture of games" issues.

In Silvio's case, the NCAA cleared him, and if Bill Self had known of anything that might have brought that into doubt, he wouldn't have played him.

Many of the FBI's revelations were likely available to the NCAA before Silvio was cleared. Whether they and the FBI ever talked is the question.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 3 months ago

One other thing. If Coach Self's comments are "useless", then so was the question. What in the world do you expect the coach to say? Realistically, he can't say "no comment" as that would only lead to further "useless" questions.

The question was not "useless", and he gave the best answer that he could.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 3 months ago

Not much news here. Sort of like the Preston car deal. Not sure we will ever get details. Guess its none of our business.

Mike Greer 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't think any coach in his or her right mind would make any statements that might negatively affect the future or wellbeing of a player on that team. Coach is not going to put a player's future at risk, and he's not going to say things that might draw more attention from the NCAA. Some of that's just coaching sense and some is a negotiation tactic (every word is a negotiation with the NCAA). Coach Self, like any other successful coach must choose his words carefully to avoid exacerbating the situation. You don't get into the Hall of Fame by saying things like . . . What on earth was Billy thinking, I sure hope he hasn't done anything else he shouldn't . . .

If it hasn't been totally cleared up by the start of the season, Silvio will be riding the pine and we'll know it's an issue.

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