WKU Hilltoppers picked as 2020-21 C-USA Favorites

Charles Bassey WKU Hilltoppers
Photo Courtesy: WKU Athletics

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball has been chosen for the third straight season by the Conference USA coaches to win the league.

The Hilltoppers were selected as the C-USA favorite in the annual preseason poll released Thursday, while senior guard Taveion Hollingsworth and junior center Charles Bassey were named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.

WKU received 11 first-place votes, while defending regular season champion North Texas received the other three. The Hilltoppers finished second in the league in 2019-20 before the season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the third straight year the Hilltoppers have had multiple preseason all-conference selections. It’s the third straight season that Hollingsworth has been named to the preseason team, and the second straight year for Bassey.

The 6-foot-2 senior Hollingsworth was named to the All-C-USA First Team last year as a junior after averaging 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals. He also shot 47.1 percent from the field and 84.3 percent from the charity stripe. The Lexington, Ky., native has started 102 straight games to start his career, the most of any active player in the country.

Hollingsworth enters this season ranked 18th on WKU’s career scoring list with 1,494 career points. He’s also eighth in career minutes played, sixth in career free-throw percentage and 10th in career made field goals.

The 6-11 junior Bassey averaged 15.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 assists in 10 games last year before his season was cut short by a leg injury. Prior to that, he was named a Preseason First-Team All-American by Lindy’s Magazine and Street & Smith’s, as well as a preseason watch list honoree for the Naismith Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and Robertson Trophy.

The Lagos, Nigeria, native was named a Preseason Second-Team All-American this year by Lindy’s. Bassey will begin the 2020-21 season as the nation’s active leader in career rebounding average at 9.8 blocks per game. The 2019 C-USA Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year also ranks ninth on WKU’s career blocks list with 97.

2020-21 C-USA Preseason Team

Jordan Shepherd, Charlotte

Jahmir Young, Charlotte

Taevion Kinsey, Marshall

Jarrod West, Marshall

Javion Hamlet, North Texas

Bryson Williams, UTEP

Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA

Keaton Wallace, UTSA

Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU

Charles Bassey, WKU

2020-21 C-USA Preseason Poll (first-place votes)

  1. WKU (11)
  2. North Texas (3)
  3. Marshall
  4. UAB
  5. Old Dominion
  6. Charlotte
  7. Louisiana Tech
  8. UTEP
  9. UTSA
  10. Florida Atlantic
  11. FIU
  12. Middle Tennessee
  13. Southern Miss
  14. Rice