Kansas senior forward Silvio De Sousa is stepping away from the Jayhawks’ basketball program “to focus all of my energies on some personal issues,” he wrote in a message posted to Twitter on Friday. De Sousa played a key role during the team’s 2018 Final Four run and was projected to contribute off the bench this season, but his tenure at Kansas has been filled with “ups and downs,” as he noted in his statement.
“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. “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. This was not an easy decision to leave the basketball program, but it’s the best thing for me to do right now. Thank you to all of my coaches and teammates for always having my back. You will always be my brothers for life. Jayhawk nation, thank you for welcoming me and supporting me through the ups and downs. It has been very tough for me at times but you all have meant so much to me.”
De Sousa joined the Jayhawks as mid-year enrollee during the 2017-18 season after graduating early from IMG Academy as a four-star prospect and the No. 32 overall player in the Class of 2017, according to the 247Sports Composite. But after helping the Jayhawks advance to the Final Four as a freshman, the NCAA ruled him ineligible for two seasons, and he sat out the entire 2018-19 season. Eventually, he won an appeal that allowed him to return to the program last season. But his junior campaign hit a snag in January when he played a prominent role in a brawl at the end of a Kansas win over Kansas State. His actions resulted in a 12-game suspension.
Ultimately, De Sousa topped out with Kansas as a bruiser off the bench, as he appeared in 38 games while averaging 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. In a statement released Friday, Kansas coach Bill Self offered his support for De Sousa’s decision.
“Today, Silvio informed me he was going to opt out of the 2020-21 season and focus on matters in his personal life,” Self said. “Knowing Silvio, it was clear he had been distracted and not fully focused during workouts as of late. 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.”