Silvio De Sousa on a conditioning crash course

photo by: Nick Krug

Newcomer Silvio DeSousa shags rebounds for his teammates prior to tipoff against Texas on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Once cleared — could today be the day? — Kansas freshman Silvio De Sousa needs time before he can play long stretches in games for reasons that extend beyond learning the plays and understanding defensive principles.

“I do think his conditioning is lacking,” Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said. “So when your conditioning’s not as good, I do think sometimes you pace yourself.”

That’s where the coaching staff , including strength and conditioning director Andrea Hudy, comes in to push an athlete past his comfort zone.

“Andrea will take him after every practice, whether it’s to do extra in the weight room, where he’s primarily doing what his teammates do, so it is primarily running,” Self said.

Self also looks for opportunities to give De Sousa extra conditioning.

“Like yesterday, I made him do a drill in front of the team, which was a totally exhausting drill, and he was all excited when he finished it,” Self said. “I said, ‘OK, now on the line you’ve got this, this and this.’ He knows he needs to get in better shape. He’s the first one to tell us that, but it’s a big difference from high school to college. When you stop and think, this dude was playing high school ball just three weeks ago.”

If De Sousa is cleared in time to play Saturday against Kansas State, an 11 a.m. tip in Allen Fieldhouse, those in attendance can expect to see him make his on-court debut.

“He’s been with us long enough that I’d trust him to play in the game,” Self said. “I don’t know if I’d trust him to play in the last three minutes or four minutes, but play in a close game midway through the second half, no question.”

Self said he doesn’t expect it to take long for De Sousa to get into game shape.

“He’s been here now for two weeks and I think it’s expecting too much for him to be 80 or 90 percent of what he can be in the first couple of weeks,” Self said. “But I certainly think by February 1, I believe that to be the case that he can be 100 percent of what he can be.”

His early role will be to bring energy off the bench in short stretches to give Udoka Azubuike rest.

“He’s not going to play enough early on that we’re going to expect him to play 10 straight minutes,” Self said. “It’s going to be short spurts so there’s no reason he can’t give us two to three to four minutes where his energy level’s very high, knowing that he’s not going to be in much longer than that anyway.”