Kansas basketball coach Bill Self unsure of what’s next for Silvio De Sousa

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa (22) watches the second half in street clothes, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said Thursday that he has talked to Silvio De Sousa “a lot” since the senior announced last Friday that he was stepping away from basketball, but Self still does not know what’s next for the former KU forward.

“I don’t think he’s made a decision, at least to my knowledge, of what his next step is,” Self said Thursday during a video press conference. “He’s got some things that he’s working through right now.”

Regardless of what’s next for De Sousa, Self said Thursday that KU was not in position to add a player to the roster and would play the 2020-21 season with 12 scholarship players instead of the NCAA limit of 13.

“The way it’s been explained to me is once you start (the) semester on aid, it covers you for the entire year in the sport of football, basketball,” Self said. “So there’ll be no replacing that aid… Silvio has the opportunity to stay on aid this academic year until it’s completed or until he graduates. I don’t know exactly what his next move will be. I’m not going to predict it. But there will not be an addition to our team.”

De Sousa’s departure leaves Kansas with just two proven players in the front court. And while that puts an additional dose of responsibilities on fifth-year senior Mitch Lightfoot and junior David McCormack, it also brings freshman Gethro Muscadin into the mix more than he initially would have been.

“It does change it,” Self said. “No question. We’ve gone from believing that Gethro probably would be our, our fourth big to now for sure he’s our third big. And you know that third big’s gonna play from time to time because of foul issues or injuries or a positive COVID test. I mean, there’s no way of getting around all those things.”

While Muscadin’s playing time will be determined by how ready he is to produce and execute on game nights, Self said Thursday that KU also is exploring the idea of playing some smaller lineups, perhaps with five guards, during its preparation for the upcoming season.

While De Sousa’s presence would have given the Jayhawks better depth and more experience, Self said his absence might make it easier for KU to set its rotation much sooner than normal.

“I believe that it’s much easier to do that when your squad size is reduced to a point where you’re almost forced to make the decisions as opposed to (making) choices,” Self said.

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