Bill Self says Kansas’ basketball program will find out “very, very soon” if and when freshman forward Billy Preston will be able to play in games for the Jayhawks.
“It’s a situation right now where we think we could know any minute on what his situation is,” said Self, KU’s 15th-year coach, Wednesday night on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. “We actually feel very good about what the NCAA has in their hands what we submitted,” Self added.
Kansas recently submitted to college’s governing body findings over an issue that that KU has said concerns the financial picture regarding a car Preston has been driving on campus this school year.
“We were hopeful for one (answer) last week,” Self said of final word from the NCAA on whether or not Preston can play. “The reason we didn’t get it … it’s not the NCAA’s fault folks. They way it (KU’s findings) had to be submitted, it had to be turned in after it was completely done with corrections so that way the NCAA doesn’t come back and say, ‘We need more information.’ We tried to make it a complete file.
“When we got it (completed), it was very close to Christmas break. People who need to review it (at NCAA) don’t report until Jan. 2 (after a holiday break that started Dec. 22). It’s been 10 to 12 days with not a lot being done with it. That’s not anybody’s fault at all. I know it’s frustrating. It’s more frustrating for Billy and obviously his mother more than anybody else. We think we’ll have a final decision on this very soon. When that decision is made we are optimistic and hoping for the best.”
The fact Preston has been held out 14 games while KU compliance looked into this case is quite significant, Self said.
“If there is a problem, which we are not saying there is, but if there is one, he has already sat how many games now? Fourteen games? Gosh dang,” Self said. “We certainly hope and believe that would be sufficient (penalty) if there is one (problem). We are not even admitting there is one. That’s where we are at right now.
“I’m trying to be patient. Certainly the NCAA knows obviously there is a lot at stake, but what is at stake more than anything else is a young man’s well being. I’m certainly hopeful that we’re going to have him real soon.”
Self addressed the matter of why this has taken so long for this situation to be resolved.
“There’s a lot of different things that go into it when you go through all records,” Self said. “As an institution I know we have done a nice job of being very thorough to the point we presented this after more interviews and things like that that you can imagine. If you think of it like this, if you are looking into something and someone tells you one name, you’ve got to go talk to that one name. If somebody tells you two names, that’s two more names you’ve got to go talk to.
“It takes a little bit longer to do a thorough job to present to the NCAA where they could make their final determination. I know we as an institution believe we have been very cautious and very thorough and basically a young man has been hurt a pretty fair amount by something that he is totally oblivious to,” added Self, who did not expand on what that might be.
“Still,” Self continued, “by the rules and letter of the law, the rules say this, that you have to approach it that way.
Self added that “it would be nice if we would have been able to get all the information to them a month ago. That’s not the the NCAA’s fault. That’s not our fault. That was us continuing and attorneys continually trying to put the thing together (for NCAA review). I wish it was something you just say, ‘OK here is the situation. Boom. Here is one piece of paper that describes everything that could possibly have transpired with this.’ It’s a little bit more complicated than that.”
As far as the final report to the NCAA, Self stressed: “I feel good about it, that it’s an honest assessment on what has transpired.”
Meanwhile, the NCAA also is reviewing freshman forward Silvio De Sousa’s amateurism status, as it does all incoming student-athletes. De Sousa recently graduated from IMG Academy and is going through the normal process to get cleared to play college basketball, in his case starting immediately.
Self said it still could be a few days before De Sousa is cleared for participation.
“There’s obviously questions when you have an international player,” Self said. De Sousa hails from Angola.
“What teams did he play for? What travel teams did he play for? Were there professionals on the travel teams? If there were professionals did you get expenses? Did you get more than expenses/ How did you get from there to here? Who paid for it? You have all these amateurism questions that have to be answered,” Self said. “We just have to get them answered. We think we can have all answers hopefully to the NCAA in the next day or two. They’ll follow up if they have anything more they need to find out about.”
Self said De Sousa is in the process of learning the system and is a ways away from being able to contribute in games.
“He’ll need time. You need time to play without thinking,” Self said. “OK, if we run 2-3 zone what do you do? What’s the base thing to do if we run man or whatever. It’s getting him comfortable with the most simple things. We’re still probably a week or 10 days if things go perfect where he’d be able to play significant minutes and help us.”