Kansas basketball coach Bill Self reiterated Tuesday afternoon, and then again in the evening on his Hawk Talk radio show, that he’s hopeful big men Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa will be available for duty during the Big 12 portion of the 2017-18 season.
Yes, Self is hopeful the two will take the court for KU, but again, as of Tuesday, there’s nothing’s official regarding the status of either player.
“I would say we are (hoping they can play in conference games),” Self told The Star Tuesday afternoon. “Hopefully we can start preparing that way the 26th. We’ll know about Silvio for sure by then. Billy I hope so (by then). Silvio … I think we’ll know in a couple of days for sure.”
De Sousa, a 6-foot-9 senior forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., said Tuesday he had one test to take this week prior to graduation from IMG on Friday. It’s believed that test has since been completed.
Self said after Monday’s game against Omaha, “we feel really good,” about De Sousa’s performance on a recent standardized test. De Sousa’s test score must be matched against his performance in core courses, with a certain test score needed for him to be eligible for NCAA competition in the second semester. There’s a chance he could arrive at KU shortly after graduation Friday, certainly in time for the Jayhawks’ game against Texas on Dec. 29 in Austin.
“It’s coming to a head. We should know something by the end of the week for sure,” Self said. “It’s all organized (for the NCAA clearinghouse to examine the materials).”
Self said later ion Tuesday night’s Hawk Talk radio show that, “we’re hopeful. He (De Sousa) has to graduate, which he will. He has to have the matching grades to match the test score. When we talk about the Silvio (situation), we have a little more control over his (than Preston’s) because his school year is over. We plan on bringing him here as soon as we get the OK. We should get the OK as long as the school cooperates and sends the grades in (to the clearinghouse) which the school is (going) to do. That makes him eligible to come and start practicing. Hopefully we’ll get him cleared to play in games soon after that.”
The bottom line on De Sousa?
“We’ve not announced for sure he is coming. He’s got to get the final grades in. Certainly I’m very optimistic about that (the eligibility case of De Sousa),” Self said.
As far as Preston … the 6-10 freshman has not played in a game this season as the NCAA looks into the financial picture surrounding a car he’s been driving on campus this school year.
“Hopefully it (information on the case) is in the proper people’s hands,” Self said, not specifically saying the NCAA. “That is coming to a point we will know pretty soon as far as what the next move is because our people have worked hard on it (looking into the situation). Certainly I think it’s close to being … I don’t know if a decision is close to being made but everybody having the information needed to make a decision.”
After Monday’s game, Self said Preston and De Sousa would not be available for Thursday’s game against Stanford in Sacramento, Calif.
“Hopefully this is the last game we have to play this small,” he said of the Stanford contest.
Self did say on his radio show that there is a growing sense of urgency surrounding both cases, because officials who work for the NCAA clearinghouse and the NCAA have some holiday days coming up.
Let Self explain: “What is screwy is Christmas is a pretty important holiday. Most people celebrate, which they should, but in this particular case, you like for everybody to be working full time until these two cases are handled.
“If Billy or Silvio, something goes wrong, and looks like a snafu, you’d like people to work the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th to fix it. The NCAA shuts its offices down beginning Friday through Jan. 3. That’s why it’s important we get this stuff done now. Hopefully we’ll get an answer in a timely manner. After that it’s sit and wait because everybody is off for vacation.”