Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Silvio De Sousa's KU Basketball Debut 'More Than He Bargained For,' Bill Self Says

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Silvio De Sousa's KU Basketball Debut 'More Than He Bargained For,' Bill Self Says

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- It was a moment Silvio De Sousa, his teammates, coaches and Kansas fans everywhere had anticipated for weeks.

It may also have been a moment too big for the No. 12-ranked Jayhawks' newest big.

De Sousa, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound freshman forward and former five-star prospect who joined KU on Dec. 27 after graduating high school early, was declared eligible through the NCAA's amateurism review process Saturday morning and made his in-game debut in his team's 73-72 victory over rival Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse.

It was a debut that included one foul, one turnover and no other statistic of note and lasted four minutes, a stretch which saw the Jayhawks (14-3, 4-1 Big 12) get outscored by eight with their newest frontcourt player on the floor.

"It was more than he bargained for," Self said. "I asked him if he was fine and he said, 'Coach, I'm great.' And I asked him if he was ready for that and he said, 'No.' So that was a different element."

The Angola native received a thunderous ovation upon first checking in with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half and heard a polite smattering of applause after checking out less than four minutes later. There would be no return for De Sousa as the Jayhawks used familiar faces the rest of the way in the down-to-the-wire victory.

"He's going to be fine, but guys, it's not fair to expect too much," Self said. "He's going to be fine, but it's going to take him another couple of weeks."

KU got word of De Sousa's eligibility at around 9:15 a.m., and Self told his players shortly after that. Self expected the news Friday, but to his understanding, one or two members of a committee reviewing the case hadn't seen relevant information to De Sousa's academic clearance until the group reconvened in a Saturday morning conference call.

Self said the program was always confident De Sousa would be ruled academically eligible but added he would've been bothered had the forward missed more than 20 percent of the team's conference schedule, a number which was fast approaching.

"But it's not a killer for us," Self said. "Even though we'd like for him to be eligible for every game, he wasn't ready to help us yet. …

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