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Starting Five: Five-star De Sousa is a holiday gift for Kansas

Facing depth issues, Kansas is getting a Holiday season gift with Silvio De Sousa's early arrival. Another five-star forward with good news is Emmitt Williams. National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi has more on them and others in a special Christmas Day edition of the Starting Five.



Headed into this season, depth on the front line looked to be Kansas' biggest issue. That was before five-star freshman Billy Preston was sidelined while the school investigates his eligibility. Just in time for the New Year, though, the Jayhawks got a big addition as five-star big man Silvio De Sousa will arrive on campus and begin practicing this week.

Formerly ranked No. 25 in the class of 2018, De Sousa will have to make up for lost practice time and it's likely that once the NCAA clears him he will have some growing pains. However, for a team that is thin in the post, he's a welcome addition and there's not much doubt that he should be able to help out immediately.

The biggest thing going in De Sousa's favor is that he is physically ready to make the leap to the Big 12. He's tough, strong, athletic and has a great motor. Even as he's learning Bill Self's sets on offense and defense, he can simply be told to go screen on the ball side and chase rebounds and he'll give the Jayhawks another five fouls on the interior. Going conservative, expecting somewhere in the area of seven points and five rebounds a game from De Sousa after he gets his feet wet isn't unreasonable and while those numbers aren't gigantic, they would be hugely helpful to Kansas.


In October, five-star power forward Emmitt Williams was charged with sexual battery and false improvement. On Thursday the charges were dropped as prosecutors decided not to pursue any case against the senior at Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge.

Now that he is clear of all charges, Williams is now free to focus on his senior year of basketball, graduating high school and finding a school.

Prior to his arrest, Williams had visited LSU and Oregon officially and he was planning to be at Florida the week that he was charged.

Williams is not currently speaking to the media but prior to the charges, LSU and Oregon were considered to be the front runners in his recruitment. It is not yet known if Williams will look to take any further visits, but at the least LSU still looks like they will be a significant factor in his recruitment.


USC's 2018 recruiting class took another hit when four-star forward Taeshon Cherry decided to decommit.

Ranked No. 31 nationally, the 6-foot-9 senior at San Diego (Calif.) Foothills Christian is the second four-star forward to bail on Andy Enfield and the Trojans after J'Raan Brooks took back his decision earlier in the fall.

There's not much guesswork about the reasoning here. Assistant coach Tony Bland was arrested in the federal investigation into college basketball corruption and since then star guard De'Anthony Melton has been ruled ineligible even though it appears that he is most likely innocent, and has never been publicly accused of anything, when it comes to taking any improper benefits

Prior to committing to the Trojans, Cherry also considered Arizona, Florida State, Oregon, Gonzaga, San Diego State and Texas A&M among others.

Despite the two losses, USC still holds commitments from four-star guards Kevin Porter and Elijah Weaver.


With Silvio De Sousa enrolling early at Kansas, a spot was opened up in the 2018 Rivals150. Because of that, 6-foot-6 wing Tevian Jones of Culver City (Calif.) High is no longer an unranked three-star.

Watching Jones at the Tarkanian Classic, it was very clear that he would eventually wind up as a four-star prospect in our final rankings. With De Sousa's move, there was no sense in dancing around and entering him at No. 150, so we decided to have him debut in the area of where we feel he legitimately belongs and that's why he enters the rankings at No. 90 overall.

A big time run and jump athlete, Jones has really improved as a jump shooter and ball handler. During the Tarkanian Classic, Jones told that he has offers from Illinois, California, UNLV, USC, UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State and others and we would lay strong odds that he has more high level offers on the way.


Finally, I wanted to write a little bit about Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman's sophomore duo of Isaiah Cottrell and Noah Taitz who both impressed me at the Tarkanian Classic.

Yes, the inspired play of Washington bound senior Jamal Bey was a huge reason that the Gaels won the event and should they win state title No. 7 in a row this winter, he'll play a huge role in that as well. But, if Cottrell and Taitz figure to play large roles in a run at even more state titles down the road.

A highly coveted big man, Cottrell has long been ranked highly because of his potential, athleticism and perceived skill. At the Tarkanian, he could be seen realizing that potential and turning it into production. He's gotten a little stronger making him tougher at the basket, he's more aware defensively and his motor is running higher. He doesn't just look like a high level player anymore, he's actually playing like one and has offers from Arizona, Washington, UNLV, Illinois, USC, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Fresno State, Creighton, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, St. John's and many more.

While I've always felt pretty sure about Cottrell emerging as a prospect, I wasn't quite sure on what to think with Taitz. I have always respected his toughness and he's got a pretty jumper and is a good athlete who plays with some fire. The more I see him, the more I feel pretty confident that his game translates to a higher level and I think he's got some leadership qualities about him that when it's all added up makes him a legit high major prospect. Not surprisingly, there are already some high majors involved as the likes of Washington, Stanford, Nevada, Rice, DePaul, Utah, UNLV and others have already offered.