De Sousa’s guardian confident IMG forward will play for KU in second semester

IMG Academy’s Silvio De Sousa could play for Kansas this season if he receives good news regarding his standardized test score. | Gregory Payan | The Associated Press

By Gary Bedore

It looks promising that newly-signed power forward Silvio De Sousa will play basketball for the University of Kansas after Christmas, De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, told The Star on Monday night.

“Basically what has been going on is he wants to go to Kansas in December. The whole goal is for him to play starting in December,” Falmagne said, noting that the 6-foot-9, 220-pound IMG Academy senior power forward could conceivably play for the Jayhawks the game after Christmas — maybe Dec. 29 at Texas.

“He is not going with the IMG option (staying all year at the Bradenton, Fla., school). He’s going with the Kansas option,” Falmagne added.

KU on Monday announced the signing of De Sousa, the No. 25-ranked player in the recruiting class of 2018, to a national letter-of-intent. Yes, the 19-year-old Angola native is in the class of 2018, but hopes are for him to play for KU in the current ’17-18 campaign.

Falmagne said there should be no problems with NCAA eligibility, though one hurdle still must be cleared. The score De Sousa receives on the standardized test he took last week must correspond correctly with his achievements in high school core courses.

It’s not known when the standardized test score will be revealed to De Sousa and his guardian and examined by KU and the NCAA.

“His graduating class graduates in December due to the fact he started in January in Angola. It’s his high school eighth semester,” KU coach Bill Self told The Star on Monday night, noting that nothing will be official until the test score comes in and a final decision on eligibility is assessed.

“He is on pace for graduation. Now he has to make the corresponding test score. We don’t have the test score back yet,” Self added.

Falmagne is optimistic.

“He will be able to graduate and play right away,” Falmagne said. “They (NCAA officials) ask for all the official transcripts and from the official transcripts we had to submit translations from back home (Angola) and that was pretty much it. Dec. 18 is when he graduates (high school). That’s his last school day. Probably Dec. 12 or so he will be done with his last high school exam,” Falmagne added.

Of possibly playing in a game for KU right after Christmas, Falmagne said: “Coach was referring to him learning the plays and really getting used to the system. He’s not going to be able to be there (at KU) in three days and play a game. He has to learn the system and be comfortable with the plays and being there.”

Falmagne said he believed De Sousa, who averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds his junior year for 28-2 IMG, would be eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft if he plays for KU one semester. However, Falmagne stressed that even if De Sousa’s eligible to turn pro, he would be back at KU in 2018-19.

“That’s not something he wants to do. He really wants to be in college and break some records. He will definitely stay,” Falmagne said. “We have to trust the process here, go slow. He has a lot to learn even though physically he is at a level he can play in the NBA right now. Physically … that is not all that matters. Mentally we know he’s not there yet.

“I think personally he will be a huge factor,” Falmagne added of De Sousa helping KU this season. “On a bad night he is giving you 15 rebounds. I mean you can’t really argue with that. He is athletic and can shoot the ball and pick-and-pop. He can help the team and that’s the reason everybody is so excited right now.”

De Sousa said Monday he was elated to hear KU announced his signing to an official letter.

“It’s a pretty good feeling, amazing to sign with a school you like,” De Sousa said in a phone conversation. “I’ve been working on my game, doing it all my life (since he was 10 back in Angola). Just to get to know where I’m going to play at this level, it’s a great day.”

He made just one official visit, choosing KU over Maryland and others.

“I fell in love with the school,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the type of guy to just go to four or five different schools to visit when you already know where to go. Once I got there it was amazing. In short answer, I would say Kansas is the best place to be. It’s like my dream school. I decided to make the dream come true,” he added, noting his dad, who played professionally overseas, has long been a fan of KU’s style of play.

“The coaches teach you things on and off the court,” De Sousa said. “They are tough on you in practices and games. They care about you.”

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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