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Silvio De Sousa declares for NBA draft pending NCAA appeal, hopes to return to Kansas

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Kansas sophomore Silvo De Sousa officially declared for NBA draft, yet hopes to return next season after NCAA ruling. (AP/David J. Phillip)

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa officially declared for the NBA draft on Friday afternoon.

Yet if he had it his way, he’d be returning to the Jayhawks next season. The problem is, though, that it’s not up to him.

De Sousa is currently suspended through the 2019-20 season by the NCAA after allegations surfaced at the first federal college basketball trial in October. While he and Kansas await a ruling on their appeal of the suspension, De Sousa made sure he has a back up plan.

If his appeal is granted, De Sousa said he “will be back for sure.” If it’s rejected, “I will be gone for sure,” he said Friday via the Kansas City Star.

Multiple allegations about the 6-foot-9 forward surfaced in the federal basketball trial in October, which included an allegation that Kansas knew payments were being made to De Sousa’s guardian. Kansas decided to sit De Sousa initially to start the season during the investigation.

Then in February, the NCAA handed down its ruling and suspended De Sousa for the entirety of the year and for the 2019-20 season. Kansas coach Bill Self quickly ripped into the NCAA after that decision.

“In my 30-plus years of coaching college basketball, I have never witnessed such a mean-spirited and vindictive punishment against a young man who did nothing wrong,” Self said. “To take away his opportunity to play college basketball is shameful and a failure of the NCAA. Silvio is a tremendous young man who absolutely deserves to be on the court with his teammates in a Jayhawk uniform. This process took way too long to address these issues. We will support Silvio as he considers his options.”

Kansas and De Sousa officially appealed the NCAA ruling on Thursday, though it’s not clear when they’ll receive a decision. De Sousa, like all players, has until May 29 to withdraw from the NBA draft and maintain his NCAA eligibility. If the NCAA doesn’t rule on his appeal by that time, it’s likely that De Sousa will simply remain in the draft.

“There’s nothing that Silvio could have done differently in this case to avoid the situation he’s in now,” De Sousa’s lawyer, Scott Tompsett, told the Kansas City Star. “There’s literally nothing. I’m not aware of any legal process, any administrative process, or any quasi-judicial process in this country where we hold somebody individually and singularly accountable for actions somebody else did that they had no control over.”

The 20-year-old has not played in a game since Kansas’ trip to the 2018 Final Four. He averaged four points and 3.7 rebounds that season while appearing in 20 games.

While he said he needs another year of collegiate experience, Self admitted earlier this week that declaring for the draft may actually be the Angola native’s best move. If nothing else, it will finally give De Sousa to showcase his talent.

“I think it may be in his best interest to declare,” Self told the Kansas City Star. “If we don’t know where this is, it buys another month for him to get a chance to try out for some folks and see what happens. The reality of it is, is he needs another year of college to definitely create the most earning power he could possibly have. Right now he doesn’t have that much. Nobody’s seen him play.”

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