LAWRENCE — Silvio De Sousa has made his decision.
Now, the Kansas basketball sophomore forward awaits someone else’s.
De Sousa intends to enter the NBA Draft but will return to the collegiate level for a junior season if the university’s appeal of the NCAA’s decision that ruled De Sousa ineligible through the 2019-20 season is successful, KU confirmed Friday to The Topeka Capital-Journal. The university submitted its appeal to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement on Thursday, and an outcome could be rendered as early as next week.
If De Sousa’s appeal is rejected, he does not plan to return to KU, the university confirmed.
Friday’s development is the latest step in De Sousa’s winding saga with the Jayhawks.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound native of Luanda, Angola, missed the entirety of his recently completed sophomore campaign, voluntarily withheld at first and, on Feb. 2, ruled ineligible through the 2019-20 season by the NCAA for alleged payments received by De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, during the former coveted prospect’s recruiting process.
De Sousa averaged 4.0 points and 3.7 rebounds across 20 appearances after joining the Jayhawks at midseason in the 2017-18 campaign, coming on strong late to help KU earn a Final Four berth.
KU has long expressed its belief that De Sousa was unaware of the alleged payments received by Falmagne — during testimony at the trial of three Adidas employees last October, a former runner for the apparel giant acknowledged giving Falmagne $2,500 to help De Sousa pay for necessary schooling, with another $20,000 payment scheduled but never completed, a figure Falmagne allegedly needed to repay a $60,000 loan from a Maryland booster who wanted the guardian to steer De Sousa to the Under Armour-sponsored program.
KU coach Bill Self on Tuesday said this path may actually be in De Sousa’s best interest.
“If we don’t know where this is, it buys another month for him to maybe try out for some folks or whatnot and see what happens,” Self said. “But the reality of it is he needs another year of college to definitely create the most earning power he possibly could have, because right now he doesn’t have that much because nobody has seen him play.”
Regardless of De Sousa’s future, he’s the latest in a long line of at least temporary departures for KU.
Sophomore guards K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore have announced their intentions to transfer. Junior forward Dedric Lawson and freshman guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson have all declared for the NBA Draft, though Dotson seems likely to return to the collegiate level. Senior guard Lagerald Vick, who left the team at midseason, must also be replaced. Junior center Udoka Azubuike is also a candidate to turn pro.
KU at the moment only has two incoming prospects in the Class of 2019 — 6-1, 170-pound guard Issac McBridge, ranked 112nd in recruiting outlet 247Sports’ composite rankings, and 6-5, 175-pound forward Christian Braun, slotted 126th. The Jayhawks on Friday lost out on the commitment of longtime target and eighth-ranked prospect Matthew Hurt, a 6-9, 215-pound forward who chose Duke.