KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Silvio De Sousa will miss Kansas basketball’s exhibition opener Thursday against Emporia State — and whether the sophomore forward returns at all remains to be seen.
De Sousa will be withheld from competition on an indefinite basis pending the outcome of an eligibility review, KU announced Wednesday morning. De Sousa’s name has been heavily tied to the college basketball corruption scandal — former Adidas runner Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola admitted at the ongoing trial of a trio of key figures in the scandal to illicitly paying De Sousa’s guardian Fenny Falmagne $2,500, and Falmagne is accused of taking another $60,000 from a Maryland booster to at one time steer De Sousa to the Under Armour program.
In a statement announcing the decision, KU coach Bill Self cited new developments at the trial for the program’s decision to sit De Sousa.
“Information was presented during the current trial in New York — some of which we knew, some of which we didn’t,” Self said. “We have decided to withhold Silvio from competition until we can evaluate and understand the new information. We have already discussed trial developments with the NCAA and will continue to work with NCAA staff moving forward.”
A 6-foot-9 native of Luanda, Angola, De Sousa last year joined the Jayhawks midseason out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and averaged four points and 3.7 rebounds in 20 games, coming on strong down the stretch in KU’s run to the Final Four.
Speaking at KU basketball media day on Oct. 10, De Sousa was confident in his eligibility status.
“I know I’m going to play this year. ... Right now it’s just time to focus on what I have to do no matter what,” said De Sousa, who identified that as “just (working) on my game.”
KU has declined comment on the day-to-day developments at the trial of former Adidas executives James “Jim” Gatto and Merl Code and aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins, which has been sent to the jury. Self is scheduled to address the media at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at Big 12 basketball media day at Sprint Center.
The Jayhawks open play with a 7 p.m. Thursday exhibition contest against Emporia State at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.