Silvio De Sousa’s first practice at Kansas will be Wednesday, not Tuesday as had been tentatively planned, coach Bill Self said Tuesday.
De Sousa, KU’s 6-foot-9, 230-pound freshman power forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., had a flight from Florida to Kansas that was to arrive at Kansas City International airpot near the conclusion of Tuesday night’s practice. Tuesday’s workout was the first scheduled practice since the Jayhawks’ 75-54 victory over Stanford Thursday night in Sacramento, Calif.
“He needs to take his physical (exam) before he can practice, so we’ll get that done early in the morning (Wednesday),” Self told The Star in a phone conversation.
Self said he did not think De Sousa, who has graduated from IMG and will play for KU second semester, would play in KU’s next game — Friday’s 8 p.m. Big 12 opener at Texas.
“No,” Self said, then added, “I guess there’s a chance. He would have to clear the amateurism (process; all players must be certified for competition by the NCAA). They don’t work on it until he’s enrolled and accepted (to the university) and that happened Friday. They (NCAA officials) are not working until Jan. 2 (though it is still possible he could be cleared before then). He really wouldn’t be able to help us because he doesn’t know the plays and things.
“We’re probably looking at the first weekend of January.”
KU plays Texas on Friday in Austin, Texas, Texas Tech on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse, TCU on Jan. 6, in Fort Worth, Texas, and Iowa State on Jan. 9 at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I think Silvio could play some. I think that it’d be more of a plugged-in situation (limited minutes to begin with) until he gets comfortable,” Self said recently on his Hawk Talk radio show.
The Lawson brothers — Dedric and K.J. — had flight delays on Tuesday and also would arrive in Lawrence after the conclusion of practice. They figure to enter the gym at some point late Tuesday to work out on their own.
Self said Tuesday there was no word on freshman forward Billy Preston’s eligibility, but that Preston would definitely be back practicing with the Jayhawks. The NCAA is believed to be reviewing KU’s findings into the financial picture surrounding the car Preston has been driving on campus, though, as Self said, the office is closed until Jan. 2.
The Jayhawks now enter a period in which they can concentrate solely on basketball until the first day of second-semester classes on Jan. 16.
“Starting the 26th, that’s all we have is just ball,” Self said recently.
“We’ll watch more tape, do some individual shooting as well as practice. We’ll have to hopefully try to get a couple guys acclimated (De Sousa, Preston) in a short amount of time if things work out.
“It (players’ schedule) will change a little bit. The rules changed so much with the NCAA, now even during breaks you’ve got to give them a day off. Things like that we never had before. Back with Coach Sutton (Eddie, Oklahoma State), Christmas break meant three-a-days. It meant three-a-days. Now if you practice an hour and 45 minutes it’s like we’re totally mistreating our youngsters because they are not getting enough rest. It’s a totally different mind-set than the past. I think intensity and stuff will definitely pick up (with Big 12 season coming).”
Jackson to come off bench again with NBA’s Suns
Former Kansas standout Josh Jackson of the Phoenix Suns, who started the last five games, is headed back to a reserve role with Phoenix, now that Devin Booker has returned from injury.
Jackson — who averages 9.4 points per game off 38.4 percent shooting (just 24.7 percent from three) — has come off the bench in 22 of Phoenix’s 35 games.
“It just means I don’t start the game,” Jackson told Azcentral.com. Jackson has averaged more turnovers (1.8 per game) than assists (1.1). “That’s the only thing that really changes. It’ll be the same. Come out and do the same thing I did when I was starting.”
The Suns went 3-2 over the last five games. According to Azcentral.com, Jackson ranks 33rd out of 37 in true shooting percentage among NBA rookies and 31st in player efficiency rating.
“He’s going too fast,” Suns’ interim head coach Jay Triano told Azcentral.com. “He’s going faster than he can control right now. That’s the only problem. I like his aggressiveness. We just have to harness it. We’ve said that from the beginning. He plays at one speed and it’s fast. He needs to change that up a bit.”
Jackson is showing progress. He’s averaged 12.2 points per game on 43.4 percent shooting (40 percent on three-pointers) in the last five games.
“He’s a slasher,” Triano told Azcentral.com. “Teams are playing him for that. This league is about having a skill and developing the next one so you can get back to it. If you can only go to your left, teams will take that away and you’ll be out of the league. We’re working with him on his shot and other aspects of his game, but right now he’s got one NBA skill and that’s being able to get to the basket.”
Embiid an All-Star?
At least one NBA player thinks former KU center Joel Embiid will make his first All-Star appearance this season.
“He is at an All-Star level, and I think he’s doing a really good job,” the Knicks’ Enes Kanter told ESPN.com. Canter had 31 points and 22 rebounds in Monday’s loss to Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers in New York. Kanter was matched at times against Embiid who had 25 points and 16 boards in a 105-98 victory. “I think if he stays healthy, he’s going to be one of the best big men in the league,” Kanter added of Embiid.
Embiid missed his first two seasons with foot injuries and was limited to 31 games last season because of a meniscus injury. A sore back caused him to miss three games recently.
Embiid is among the top 15 in the NBA in scoring (23.7 points per game), rebounding (10.9) and blocks (2.0), ESPN reports.
“I want to stay on the floor, I want to be on the floor,” Embiid told ESPN.com. “If it (back) is not something that’s going to really, really bother me, I’m going to play.”