Stanford’s already promising Class of ‘17 received a big shot in the arm with the addition of Daejon Davis in the wake of Lorenzo Romar’s departure from the University of Washington. However, potentially the most intriguing member of this class comes to Stanford by way of Munich, Bavaria in Germany. Oscar Da Silva, a 6’9” swing forward, was Stanford’s second signee in the Class of ‘17 and the Cardinal’s coaching staff has been effusive about Da Silva’s potential from the start.
Here is Stanford assistant coach Adam Cohen on Da Silva: “Our staff couldn’t be more excited about Oscar. He has incredible versatility, length and skill. When recruiting him, we saw him as an ideal Stanford student athlete - he checks all the boxes! We love guys who can play multiple positions and guard multiple positions - Oscar fits that bill perfectly.”
If there is one unifying aspect of Stanford’s first recruiting class it’s versatility. All four members of this class can play multiple positions, something that’s now becoming virtually mandatory as the game evolves. The implications are significant on both ends of the floor. The option of switching on defense, the ability to have multiple playmakers on offense, and the potential for creating matchup advantages against other teams all come with versatility. Stanford’s staff has advocated versatility from the start, and with their initial recruiting class, they have backed up that conviction with action.
Oscar graciously took some time to answer some questions about his recruitment, his game, and what’s next in advance of his arrival on campus.
Give us a little bit of background info on your career. How long have you been playing basketball? When did it become your #1 sport?
I started playing at eight. At that time I had tried soccer and did Capoeira, a Brazilian fighting style. In my 16u year I first started playing at the highest national level for my age group. After my second and last year in that 16u league I sort of formed the vision of being a pro one day. Not long after that I first came up with the idea to play Basketball in college and went on a US trip with my team where we participated in AAU tournaments in LA and Las Vegas. Right now I’m playing in my last year in the 19u national league.
How big is the game in Germany, and how much exposure do you get to the American game? Who are your favorite NBA players?
It has become quite popular in the last decade or so. Of course most players here idealize players in US High School, College or NBA. That’s why I would say we have quite a good exposure to the American game. After all, the game has spread all over the globe and the States are the best at this sport. Just (the other day) I watched the Final Four with a couple of friends. My Idols would be KD, Paul George or Giannis.
Tell us about the genesis of the recruiting process for you. When did schools first get in touch with you? When did Stanford appear on your radar? How long did the process go for you? What other schools recruited you?
For me, the recruiting started a bit more than a year ago. Princeton reached out to me back then. That was the first school I had ever been in contact with personally. Until late summer the list of schools I considered was Princeton, Columbia, Cal and, of course, Stanford. They reached out to me in June I think. I remember that because I was in training camp with the national team when I saw – all excited, that a Stanford assistant Coach had texted me. I ended up taking two official visits, one to Cal and one to Stanford in October and committed to Stanford in November.
What was your first impression of Stanford? How well known was it?
Stanford is well known, even where I’m from. I think we’re connected to American culture and habits more than you realize. Anyway, on campus I was overwhelmed immediately, even though I probably caught the only two days of rain in the last three months or so during the visit. On this huge, beautiful campus you can’t help but feel impressed. The place has such an attracting vibe to it, at least that’s what I felt. And I think that feeling will grow even stronger when I get to know and interact with all the fellow students and become part of this amazing community in this amazing environment.
How did you feel about Coach Haase and the staff? What part of your visit made the biggest impression on you?
I connected with them really well. They gave me the impression that they were really going to put their confidence in me and the other freshmen for next season and that they came to accomplish great things for the program. Especially Coach Haase seemed very determined and confident. I also think they did a good job with the new team they had this year. For my visit, it was very nice overall. I had a good time with both coaches and players. The most memorable moment was probably right when we arrived on campus and coincidently walked into the Warriors club owner, who had just finished his morning workout in one of the countless gyms on campus. That showed me first-hand of what magnitude this place actually is.
How did you arrive at your choice to commit to Stanford?
After my trip I took a few days to settle and overthink my visits. But everything just felt right at Stanford. One of the best, maybe the best academic programs worldwide matched with the huge athletic tradition and the beautiful environment, where you can strive for greatness on and off the court. I found everything I was looking for in a college. I committed in early November and signed my NLI.
Tells us about your game. What would you say are your strengths? What areas would you like to improve on by the time you arrive at Stanford?
I would say I am a versatile wing/ combo forward with the ability to score and to make my teammates better. I like to bring energy on the court especially on defense. My most valuable attribute as a player right now is my versatility on offense and defense. I will switch on smaller guys and guard them, too. On offense I can create mismatches a lot of times. To improve I want my outside shot to fall more consistently and become more explosive in my first step.
How often are you used in screen/roll actions? Are you primarily the screener of the ballhandler or both?
Given my versatility I’m involved in screen ’n’ rolls as both ballhandler and screener. This season more often as ballhandler since I play on the wing a lot.
Where on the court (wing/post) have you been used most often on offense?
This year I play on the wing more often than as a 4. We do have a couple of plays to post me up while playing on the wing, though. I’m quite an efficient scorer out of the low-post, too.
What is one area on offense you'd like to improve before next season? On defense?
Like I said I want to improve my outside shot as well as my explosiveness. And add ballhandling to that list, too. On defense I need to improve on lateral quickness and staying in my stance.
How did your team( or teams) do this season? How has your high school coach influenced you?
Our season is still going on in the 19u race for the national championship. We’re in the Top8 now and will continue to play the next round later in April. Our goal is to win it all this year and we have quite a good chance to accomplish this huge goal. My coach has been pushing me ever since I started playing for him. He also got me in touch with the US Basketball and supported my choice to play in college.
What are your plans for arriving on campus? Will you be here in the summer or in the fall?
I won’t arrive until late July, unfortunately. I will do summer school classes online, so I can play the Fiba U19 world championship from July 1st until July 9th. That’s why my arrival on campus will be delayed a little bit.
Have you had a chance to meet/get to know any of your fellow Stanford Basketball Class of '17 admits?
I haven’t met them since our commitments but we all have been texting a little bit. I’m looking forward to getting to know them. Although – side note: I played Isaac in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in 2016 when we played Australia. Little did we know we would be on one and the same team a year after that.
What part of this next chapter in your life are you most excited about?
Thinking about that now, the thing I’m most excited about is the very fact that I’m starting this new chapter of my life. And it’s not simply in some place, but in a university that, like no other, encourages young women and men to be curious and courageous and to stand back up when you fall to the ground. Where accumulating knowledge and competing in the classroom is something cool, not something rare. That gives you exposure to circles that enable you to actually change the world with your achievements. I get all giddy when I think about this amazing opportunity I have been offered.
For Stanford fans for whom prospects have been far too dim for far too long, Oscar’s giddiness may prove to be contagious come November. Only time renders the final judgment on recruits, but Stanford’s coaching staff has clearly taken strong steps towards change in its first swing at bringing talent to The Farm. In the case of Oscar da Silva, we are looking at a player with tremendous upside, one that the coaches believe could very well end up allowing him to succeed not just in college but the next level as well. Coming off a disappointing season, the following sentiment may be strange at first, but the more you think about what’s coming to Maples this summer, the more it makes sense:
Next season can’t get here fast enough.