Report: Guardian of Kansas’ Silvio De Sousa denies taking payment

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Neither Kansas freshman Silvio De Sousa nor his guardian accepted any payments that were referenced in federal court documents as part of the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball, his guardian told the Kansas City Star on Wednesday.

“He did not take any money. We did not take any money,” the guardian, Fenny Falmagne, told The Star by phone Tuesday. “The kids and I never took money from anyone. This is bigger than basketball. These kids and I have sacrificed so much because we know this could change our countries and nation.

“Anyone that knows me will know that coach Larry Brown is the only person that I take advice from because who he means to me and the kids. He told me, ‘Fenny, the people at Kansas are good people and will help Silvio achieve his dream.’ And look what it did listening to him. Made it to the Final Four and got significantly better.”

De Sousa isn’t mentioned by named in the documents that became public Tuesday, but the timeline laid out in the documents appears to allege that a $20,000 payment from adidas went to De Sousa’s guardian in order to reimburse another apparel company that had already made a payment to try to bring De Sousa to one of their affiliated programs.

“Earlier today, we learned that the University of Kansas is named as a victim in a federal indictment. The indictment does not suggest any wrongdoing by the university, its coaches or its staff,” Kansas said in a statement Tuesday. “We will cooperate fully with investigators in this matter. Because this is an active investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

The federal documents also allege a $90,000 payment to the mother of another Kansas player, believed to be Billy Preston. He never appeared in a game for Kansas this past season due to eligibility issues.

Kansas coach Bill Self did not comment beyond saying, “I did not see anywhere nor do I believe that we were thought of to be anything but a victim in the situation, so I’ll reserve comment further in detail.”

De Sousa joined Kansas mid-year last season from IMG Academy in Florida. He averaged 4.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“Coach Self is not about that (paying players),” Falmagne told The Star . “That is one of the things I really appreciate about him. He is, like ‘Coaches are gonna offer you this. What I’m going to say is I am not going to jeopardize my livelihood for that. I can guarantee you if he really wants to be an NBA player, I can make him NBA. It’s going to take a lot of work from him, but I can get him there. That’s when his reward is going to come. Right now is not the time for it.’

“I was like, ‘Wow, Coach Brown was right about this guy.’ That’s when we went over there (to visit KU).’’’