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Kansas coach Bill Self talks to then-freshman forward Silvio De Sousa in the second half against Villanova in this UDK file photo from March 2018. De Sousa will be opting out of the 2020-2021 season.

Kansas men’s basketball senior forward Silvio De Sousa will opt out of the 2020-21 season and leave the program, De Sousa announced via Twitter Friday.

De Sousa cited “focusing my energies on personal issues” as his reason for stepping away from the Kansas program.

“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,” De Sousa said. “This was not an easy decision to leave the basketball program, but it’s the best thing for me to do right now.”

Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self said De Sousa had been distracted and not fully focused in recent workouts, according to a release from Kansas Athletics. Self added that the Kansas coaching staff “fully understand his reasoning to take time away from basketball.” 

“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. “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. We support his decision and wish him nothing but success moving forward.”

After coming to Kansas midway through the 2017-18 season, De Sousa appeared in 20 games, averaging 4.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. De Sousa also played a key role off the bench during the Jayhawks’ run to the Final Four in the 2018 NCAA tournament. 

De Sousa was also suspended for the entirety of the 2018-19 season due to an NCAA investigation. The investigation cited De Sousa’s guardian received improper benefits, with the NCAA citing apparel sponsor Adidas acting as a booster for the program.

 

De Sousa was cleared to play the following year and averaged 2.6 points and 2.8 points per game in 2019-20. Most notably, De Sousa was suspended 12 games after an altercation at the end of a game against Kansas State in January

He is the first Kansas men’s basketball player to opt out of the 2020-21 season. 

“Thank you to all of my coaches and teammates for always having my back,” De Sousa said. “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.”