Controversial forward Silvio De Sousa leaves Kansas for personal reasons | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / October 22.
  • Controversial forward Silvio De Sousa leaves Kansas for personal reasons

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    The Silvio de Sousa Era is over at Kansas.

    The controversial forward announced he was leaving the program for “personal” reasons.

    “I have made the difficult decision to opt out of this season to focus all of my energies on some personal issues,” De Sousa wrote on Twitter. “I have a lot of things weighing on my mind and need to address these by taking time for myself and stepping away from basketball. I do not know what my next plan will be right now, but I will decide that when the time is right.”

    Kansas coach Bill Self said he met with De Sousa on Friday.

    “Knowing Silvio, it was clear he had been distracted and not fully focused during workouts as of late,” Self said. “After he and I sat down and talked about that, it was clear this was the best decision for him, and Kansas basketball, to leave the program. At some point in the future, Silvio will decide what his next steps will be and where that will take him. …

    “Silvio has worked very hard during his time here and we have stood by him throughout, but we fully understand his reasoning to take time away from basketball. We support his decision and wish him nothing but success moving forward.”

    The 6-foot-9 native of Angola averaged 2.6 points and 2.8 rebounds last season. He figured to back up big man David McCormack in the 2020-21 season.

    His time at Kansas has been filled with controversy.

    In January, De Sousa was suspended 12 games for his role in the brawl between the Jayhawks and Kansas State on Jan 21. He grabbed a chair and swung it over his head, but it was knocked out of his hand before anybody was injured.

    De Sousa also was at the center of the FBI investigation into bribery in college basketball and missed the 2018-19 season.

    On Feb. 1 2019, the NCAA declared de Sousa ineligible for two seasons because of his guardian’s role in accepting money from a former Adidas executive. In May he won his NCAA appeal and was declared eligible for the 2019-20 season.

    During the federal basketball corruption trial in October 2018, Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola testified he made concealed payments of $20,000 to Fenny Falmagne, De Sousa’s guardian.

    “The kids and I never took money from anyone,” Falmagne told The Kansas City Star in April 2018. “This is bigger than basketball. These kids and I have sacrificed so much because we know this could change our countries and nation. Anyone that knows me will know that coach Larry Brown is the only person that I take advice from because who he means to me and the kids. He told me, ‘Fenny, the people at Kansas are good people and will help Silvio achieve his dream.’ And look what it did listening to him. Made it to the Final Four and got significantly better.”

    In September 2019, Kansas received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA but is currently disputing the charges.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.