KU’s Self comments on signing of top-25 forward who might help Jayhawks this season

Silvio De Sousa signed his national letter of intent with Kansas on Wednesday at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. | Casey Brooke Lawson | IMG Academy

By Jesse Newell jnewell@kcstar.com

Five-star recruit Silvio De Sousa has officially signed with the Kansas men’s basketball team. Now the question is when he will show up on campus.

De Sousa, a 6-foot-9 forward from Angola, is attempting to enroll in Lawrence for second semester classes so he can help the Jayhawks this year, his legal guardian, Fenny Falmagne, told The Star last week.

While there was nothing new on that front Monday, KU coach Bill Self was able to speak for the first time about De Sousa after receiving his letter of intent. And if KU is able to land De Sousa early, it seems like Self could envision a role for him.

“He’s a guy who can provide immediate help the first day he steps on campus,” Self said Monday. “He plays hard and goes after the ball, which reminds me of Markieff (Morris) when he first got to Kansas. He’s a guy who can give you points and rebounds early in his career and we feel he has the potential to become a good perimeter shooter.”

De Sousa, ranked 25th in his class by Rivals, plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. After coming over from Angola, he has lived in Florida for more than three years.

“He has great size for a true four-type man,” Self said. “He’s very explosive and at one time, a couple years ago, was rated a top-five player in his class. Not participating in the summer grass roots stuff as much over the past year, his rankings have dropped a little bit, but we feel like he’s a top-five talent.”

De Sousa, whose primary recruiter was Kurtis Townsend, averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds for IMG Academy last season while helping the team to a 28-2 record. He becomes the latest in a line of African-born big men to choose KU, as Joel Embiid, Cheick Diallo and Udoka Azubuike have all played for the Jayhawks in the last five years.

Falmagne spoke to De Sousa’s potential after the forward gave his oral commitment to KU in August.

“He truly is a freak of nature,” Falmagne said. “His upside is just out of this world. He’s a kid that can put his shoulder on the rim. He can dribble, he can shoot, he can post up, he has great footwork. He can play the game of basketball. More than that, he’s just a great kid.”

De Sousa is the third player to sign with KU in the last few days, as point guard Devon Dotson and forward David McCormack made their intentions official Saturday. The Jayhawks are also in the running for shooting guard Quentin Grimes, Rivals’ 11th-ranked player who is expected to choose between KU and Texas this week.

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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