IMG Academy senior power forward Silvio De Sousa, who will report for practice at Kansas on Dec. 26, has been dominating the Chick-fil-A Classic in his final appearances for the Bradenton, Fla., school.
De Sousa, a 6-9, 230-pounder from Angola who is ranked No. 25 in the recruiting Class of 2018 according to Rivals.com, scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds while playing 26 minutes in Friday’s 86-73 victory over Findlay Prep in the semifinals of the national tourney in Columbia, S.C. He also was 3 of 4 from the line and had two steals.
De Sousa scored 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds in an opening round victory over Huntington Prep on Thursday. He also had 10 rebounds, two steals and a block in 36 minutes. He was to play in the finals against Oak Hill Academy on Saturday night.
“One of the most explosive players in high school basketball, De Sousa was emphatically good on Thursday,” wrote Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “He brought the crowd to its feet a number of times thanks to his windmill dunks but it was the physicality that he presented on the interior that would be a welcomed sight in Lawrence.
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“He isn’t the complete answer for Kansas’ issues on the offensive glass and in the toughness category, but he sure would mask some of its deficiencies in its frontcourt.
KU coach Bill Self said Friday that De Sousa will begin practicing with the Jayhawks once everybody returns from a four-day Christmas break. KU’s athletic department is still working through the NCAA’s amateurism process while hoping to have De Sousa certified as soon as possible for games. He will wear jersey No. 22 at KU.
After Game Two of the Chick-fil-A Classic, Evan Daniels of 247sports.com wrote: “De Sousa was active, aggressive and looked to power dunk anything in the paint. De Sousa is a good area rebounder and plays a tough, physical brand of basketball. Although he lacks polish, he’s certainly improving on the offensive end, and showed a nice up and under move in traffic.”
In a recent 72-65 win over St. John’s College of Washington, D.C., in the Rescue Rooster Hoopfest in Maryland, De Sousa scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“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,” Bossi said after De Sousa committed to KU on Aug. 27 after a campus visit. He signed with KU during the week-long November signing period.
“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.”
De Sousa’s mentor, Fenny Falmagne, had this to say about De Sousa to The Star in a recent interview:
“He truly is a freak of nature,” Falmagne said. “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, who averaged 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds for the Florida Vipers on the Under Armour Association circuit last summer, also played for Angola’s Under 19 World Cup team last July. He averaged 17.3 points and 13.1 rebounds. He had 19 points and five rebounds against the USA U19 team. He was also named MVP of the U18 Africa Championship in the summer of 2016 according to ESPN.com.
De Sousa chose KU over Maryland, UCLA, Oregon, Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse and others.
“He’s a guy who can provide immediate help the first day he steps on campus,” Self said of De Sousa. “He plays hard and goes after the ball, which reminds me of Markieff (Morris) when he first got to Kansas. He’s a guy who can give you points and rebounds early in his career and we feel he has the potential to become a good perimeter shooter.
“He has great size for a true four-type man,” Self added of the player who, after coming to the U.S. from Angola, has lived in Florida more than three years. He attended Montverde Academy a year before moving to IMG Academy.
“He’s very explosive and at one time, a couple years ago, was rated a top-five player in his class. Not participating in the summer grass roots stuff as much over the past year, his rankings have dropped a little bit, but we feel like he’s a top-five talent,” Self added.
ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla had this to say about De Sousa on Twitter: “He is one of my favorites at StephenCurry30 Select Camp. An absolute monster and his motor high!”
ESPN’s Paul Biancardi tweeted: “De Sousa is having his way here (this week’s CFA Classic). One of the most physically ready and athletic prospects I have seen in a long time.”
And Corey Evans of Rivals.com noted: “What does DeSousa bring to the floor? He is a walking double-double that rebounds, finishes and runs the floor. His ball skills have rapidly improved and so has the range and consistency on his 17-foot jumper, a big man that can play alongside Udoka Azubuike but also a small ball 5-man.”