The U.S. Attorney General's Office announced new charges in the FBI probe into college basketball corruption today. This latest release features four adidas programs: Kansas, Louisville, Miami, and NC State. The Jayhawks are a notable addition to the list of programs directly drawn into this scandal. For the Jayhawks, things are even more interesting, as the details listed seem to point to a current player, center Silvio De Sousa.
De Sousa is coming off of his freshman year for the Jayhawks. It took until January for the NCAA to clear him to play for the year, but he became a pretty valuable contributor once he was. Kansas had an extremely shallow front court, after eligibility concerns cost five-star forward Billy Preston his year in college. De Sousa's role grew as he gained experience during the season.
He finished averaging four points and 3.7 rebounds per game. De Sousa played 8.8 minutes per game for the Jayhawks on the year.
Debuting on January 13 against Kansas State, he never played more than seven minutes through his first nine games. After that, he played double-digit minutes in nine of his final 11 appearances.
De Sousa scored a season-high 16 points in 26 minutes in the regular season finale against West Virginia. He played the same among in Kansas's Elite Eight win over Duke.
ESPN connected the dots on the FBI report, and it really looks like Silvio De Sousa may be one of the unnamed players.
Mark Schlabach dove into the FBI's indictment. From his report:
In August 2017, the indictment alleges, the second Kansas player's legal guardian informed the first player's mother that the player had received illicit payments to attend a school sponsored by one of Adidas' rivals. The guardian told the first player's mother that the student-athlete was more interested in attending Kansas, but would need to repay payments from the rival apparel company in order to do so.
The second player announced he would enroll at Kansas on Aug. 30, 2017, according to the indictment, and on Sept. 11, 2017, Gatto was informed by the unidentified Adidas consultant that he would need to make "another $20,000 payment" to the player's guardian to help the student-athlete "out from under" the deal to sign with the other school.
The only Kansas player who committed on Aug. 30, 2017 is Silvio De Sousa, who is from Angelo, attended IMG Academy and joined the Jayhawks in late-December. De Sousa averaged 8.8 minutes in 20 games, and scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds in 10 minutes in the national semifinal loss to Villanova.
247Sports connected more dots on De Sousa:
De Sousa’s case might be the most interesting. ‘In or around’ August 2017, a player’s guardian informed CC-3 that the guardian “had received illicit payments in return for a commitment to steer the student-athlete to a university sponsored by a rival athletic company.” According to the guardian, the player “was more interested in attending the University of Kansas, but Guardian-1 would need to repay the illicit payments in order to do so.”
That set up this: “On August 30, 2017, in what media reports called a ‘surprise’ decision, the student-athlete announced he would not attend the school sponsored by the rival apparel company but would instead enroll at the University of Kansas.”
De Sousa was the only player to commit to Kansas around that timeframe, and the details of his commitment would seem to fit: He picked Kansas despite his 247Sports Crystal Ball registering 100 percent Maryland, meaning he was considered a heavy lean to pick the Terrapins. Additionally, Maryland is sponsored by a rival apparel company, Under Armour.
Other parts of the indictment seem to point to former NC State star Dennis Smith Jr. and former Louisville commit Brian Bowen, both of whom have previously been connected to the FBI investigation. According to the report, sources have revealed to ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the "first player" mentioned above was Preston.
Preston was not named in the Yahoo! Sports report that identified so many players that allegedly received payments or had meals bought by agents and runners. However, the way his college career, or lack there of, played out, there was plenty of speculation that he was involved. Preston left Kansas and began his professional career in Bosnia back in January.
Kansas did appear elsewhere in that Yahoo! Sports report. Former Jayhawks star Josh Jackson is alleged to have received a loan of over $15,000, while his mother is also listed as having received money.
Kansas put out a statement after today's FBI release. It did not directly address Silvio De Sousa or any of the other players potentially involved here. We'll have more as we learn it on this ever-evolving situation.