FORT MYERS, Fla. — As IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) forward Silvio De Sousa dressed after his No. 5-ranked team’s 71-56 quarterfinal defeat of No. 17 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) at the City of Palms Classic on Monday, the players in the locker room across from his were wearing the familiar colors of his old team.
De Sousa, considered the No. 2 power forward in the 2018 class, transferred to IMG this season from Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), which was playing Jonesboro, Ga., in the quarterfinal after IMG’s. Bruno Fernando, a 6-10 fifth-year senior, and like De Sousa a native of Angola, also transferred from Montverde so he could play for IMG’s prep team.
“I don’t think it felt weird seeing them,” De Sousa said. “I say hi to some of them and we’re still friends. Transferring to IMG was my parent’s decision.”
The move to IMG hasn’t necessarily meant a more prominent role for De Sousa as the Ascenders (9-0) have two other talented bigs in Isaiah Stokes and Emmitt Williams, both of whom are also 6-8. On Monday, De Sousa made good use of his 18 minutes, hitting 6-of-9 shots for 13 points and seven rebounds, most of that coming in the second half. He had eight points after the break. including a basket that came off a nice hesitation move and another play where he ripped the rebound and drove the length of the court for a layup.
“I think had a bad first half because I was kind of asleep,” De Sousa said. “In the second half, coach pushed me and I pushed myself.”
When he first came to IMG, De Sousa said he had some concerns when he saw the team had three elite big men. The upshot, though, is he gets pushed harder every day in practice than he does sometimes in games.
“At first I was worried about all the bigs, but I got used to it and we all love each other,” De Silva said.
De Sousa played for Angola’s U18 national team this past summer. Though he’s a long way from home, he has a way of keeping his family close. His mother’s name is tattooed on his right forearm and his sisters’ names are tattooed on his left arm.