April 22, 2018

IMG Academy’s Silvio De Sousa eyeing enrollment at Kansas during the break

IMG Academy's Silvio De Sousa averaged 24 points on 80 percent shooting (20-for-25) and 12.5 rebounds in two wins at National Hoopfest at DeMatha Catholic High School. Kyle McFadden/MSA.

IMG Academy’s (Fla.) Silvio De Sousa has plans to enroll at Kansas during the semester break, the blue-chip power forward said after his game Saturday at National Hoopfest at DeMatha Catholic High School.

De Sousa, regarded as one of the top recruits in the Class of 2018 at 6-foot-9, 242 pounds, signed his letter of intent in November and is awaiting standardized testing results, which will ultimately determine his eligibility of playing for the Jayhawks sooner rather than later. De Sousa said he will know his SAT score this Friday, December 15.

“I feel great about it [the SAT score]. At least, that’s what I think,” De Sousa told Maryland Sports Access on Saturday. “I’m just waiting now. … I’m still trying to figure it out.”

Enrolling and attempting to play during the second semester would provide Kansas much-needed depth in the frontcourt. As of Saturday, Udoka Azubuike is the only traditional post player averaging more than 15 minutes a game for the Jayhawks. Billy Preston, ranked No. 18 in the 2017 ESPN 100 and was expected to be a key contributor down low, remains out indefinitely while the finances related to a one-car accident are investigated. Additionally, Kansas’ bench is accounting for just 22.1 percent of its minutes, seventh-lowest in the nation.

After winning its first seven games of the season, including a 65-61 win over Kentucky, Kansas has dropped its last two to Washington, 74-65, and Arizona State, 95-85. The Jayhawks open Big 12 play December 29 at Texas.

De Sousa says he want “to get there really, really bad,” and believes he can make an instant impact — a national title push — but is forced to play the waiting game until his testing score is available this Friday. If eligible, the coveted forward will discuss the matter with his legal guardian.

“If he gets it then it’s a conversation, if he doesn’t he’s staying,” IMG Academy coach Sean McAloon told 247sports. “I think it’s probably 50-50. There are pros to going and pros to staying.

“I know Kansas wants him and I think they could probably use him and we could probably use him, too. Either way you can’t tell a kid it’s a bad decision, he should do what he wants to do and he’s handled it like a pro. He’s not talking much about it. He’s really focused on the present, which is really cool. If he goes he gets to play for a Hall of Famer.”

In the 96-60 beatdown of Bishop McNamara, De Sousa had 20 points (9-for-13 shooting) and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes. In the 72-65 win over MSA No. 4 St. John’s (D.C.), he went for 28 points (11-for-12 shooting), 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

De Sousa is a physical specimen and physically ready for not just college, but the NBA, his coach says. His athleticism is off the charts and, given his size and brute strength, can stretch defenses with his ability to get out and run and hit shots from behind the arc. It’s the mental side that needs nurturing. 

“It’s tough to go into Big 12 play,” McAloon added. “You can’t just throw a kid into Big 12 play and he’s a kid that wants to play. If he’s playing 10 minutes a game, it’s great for Kansas, but he would not like that.”

De Sousa, who picked Kansas over Maryland, remains focused on the present and said this hasn’t been a distraction by any measure, but doesn’t sweep his eagerness under the rug when talking about his future destination, sometime this month or next fall.

“One thing I love about Kansas is the campus,” De Sousa said. “Once I got there, the school in general made me feel like they’ve known me like 10 years or more. That’s the thing I really love.”

De Sousa, native of Angola, came to the United States in December 2015 for greater opportunity. The cultural difference was a rocky transition at first, since De Sousa didn’t know a smidgen of English and the American way was foreign.

“In the beginning, it was hard,” De Sousa said. “Communicating with people was hard.”

At first, basketball was all he paid attention to. As time progressed, De Sousa has gained greater appreciation for life off the court, which eases any anxiety about the want to enroll early, because he’s in good hands regardless.

He has dreams of playing in the NBA, and he’s on that trajectory. If that doesn’t work out, De Sousa said he wants to be a doctor or go into business.

“When I came here, I had basketball on my mind. But then I realized myself, and what [the United States] offered,” De Sousa said. “That school comes first, then basketball. Basketball drives me here, like a vehicle. I’m excited to be apart of [the] Jayhawks. I just want to get there soon.”

About Kyle McFadden 416 Articles
Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School's Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore's student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles. McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access. With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels. McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church -- serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night. Although he's only been around journalism since January 2014, he's a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post. McFadden's work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He's also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists. McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor's degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.
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