WKU Men’s Basketball: Bassey adjusting to college level

With a new season on the horizon, hype for this year’s Hilltopper basketball team has reached an all time high. That hype became even bigger when a certain five-star recruit committed to bring his talents to the Hill. 

Charles Bassey, the freshman center from Nigeria, had been waiting a long time to finally play in front of the WKU faithful.

"I was so, so full of joy," Bassey said. "I couldn’t wait to just be in here, play with my new teammates, and just play. I couldn’t wait. It’s going to be a good season."

Hilltopper fans had also been waiting awhile to finally see their prized freshman phenom dawn the red and white and showcase his skills inside Diddle Arena. At Hilltopper Hysteria last Thursday, fans got a see just that, or rather a glimpse of things to come from what could be a program-changing recruit.

"The way he plays, the way he seals…stuff like that," said teammate and junior forward Moustapha Diagne. "He understands the game. He makes stuff easy for people especially when he spreads the floor, double-team gonna come and he might kick it out."

"Charles is a guy who’s got a good understanding," added Head Coach Rick Stansbury. "He’s got good footwork. High school it’s hard to show your footwork sometimes because those little guys are guarding you."

Bassey was originally a class of 2019 prospect, but decided to re-classify to the class of 2018 and commit to playing at WKU. So while he might not look it given his size, Bassey is still only 17 years old, which means there’s still a lot of room for improvement for the big man down low. 

"I mean just do everything specific like setting the screens, doing it the right way," Bassey said. "Just doing it the way that coach wants it. And just listening to the coach and stuff like that."

"A lot of areas he’s gotta get better at," Stansbury noted. "Biggest thing for Charles is he has to continue to play himself into shape, continue to shift another gear energy-wise every possession."

The announcement of Bassey’s addition to this already talented roster only amplified expectations for the 2018-19 edition of the Hilltoppers, but he feels like himself, and his new teammates, can live up to, and exceed, all of the preseason hype, which includes the Tops being picked as the preseason favorites to win Conference USA.

"You can’t be talented without being hard-working," said Bassey. "I just know we’re a hard-working team. We do everything. We go hard every time. That’s what coach wants.[Stansbury] does his thing. [Stansbury] is a hard-working coach, we’re a hard-working team, so we’re going to do everything right this season."