Silvio De Sousa, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound senior power forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., who is considered one of the top big men in the recruiting class of 2018, on Wednesday orally committed to play basketball at Kansas.
“He truly is a freak of nature,” said De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne. “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’s commitment followed his weekend official recruiting visit to KU. He’s decided not to visit the likes of Maryland, UCLA, Oregon and Indiana. He also had Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse and others on his list of prospective schools.
“It just felt like home,” Falmagne said of KU. “He went on the visit and the kids were with the coaches. The coaches’ wives were involved with the kids. The coaches’ wives really do a good job taking care of the kids, the whole team. They all know each other. They give hugs to each other. Like Silvio said, he went there for the first time and he felt like he’d been there 100 times.”
De Sousa is the No. 25-ranked player in the recruiting class of 2018 by Rivals.com.
At one point, after his sophomore year, he was the No. 2 rated player in the country by at least one recruiting service but dropped after returning to Luanda, Angola to represent his country in international basketball. He did not play AAU ball.
“He’s extremely excited,” Falmagne said. “For kids, you want to go to a place you connect with coaches and feel they care for you on and off the court.
“For me, it (KU) felt like a great place to raise a family for one, a great place for kids to develop. I felt personally it will be a good fit for him. There’s not as much distraction you see at a typical place.”
Falmagne said De Sousa bonded well with the KU players, including sophomore center Udoka Azubuike.
Azubuike hails from Nigeria; De Sousa arrived in the U.S. from Angola in January 2015.
“(He) loved Udoka, Falmagne said. “Every kid in the program likes Udoka. Credit the coaching staff: coach (Kurtis) Townsend, (Bill) Self, all of them. they are great coaches and care about the kids. They care about one another, support each other. When you have kids like that, you are not just close to one person but the whole team.”
Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi said of De Sousa: “There’s a period of adjustment for all but a few players coming to college, but what Silvio has going for him is, he’s college-ready strength-wise and he’s got an incredible motor on him. He’s a little bit raw from a skills standpoint, he just plays so hard and when you combine that with his athleticism, he’s able to get a lot of stuff done.
“He’s a guy that I think Bill Self and his staff are going to really enjoy coaching,” Bossi added. “I think that he’s got the kind of makeup, mentally, that they really want out of a big guy. The big thing for Silvio is learning to play the game in a way where he’s not reliant on being physically dominant and being able to overpower guys. He needs to improve his anticipation and feel for the game and things like that.”
There’s a chance De Sousa will be a one-and-done player.
“I think he has potential to be one-and-done,” Falmagne said. “That will be determined based on the coaching staff.”