WKU Men’s Basketball: Bassey, Hollingsworth nab All-Conference honors

DALLAS  WKU center Charles Bassey was named to the 2018-19 All-Conference USA First Team, All-Defensive Team and All-Freshman Team on Monday, while Taveion Hollingsworth was selected to the All-C-USA Third Team, as announced by the league office.

This is the second straight year that WKU has featured multiple all-conference picks (Justin Johnson and Darius Thompson in 2017-18) and the second consecutive year with a first-team choice (Johnson).

Bassey – a 6-foot-11, 245-pound native of Lagos, Nigeria – is the first WKU freshman to make an all-conference first team since Ralph Crosthwaite on the All-Ohio Valley Conference Team in 1954-55.

He’s the first WKU freshman to be an all-conference selection at all since Derrick Gordon (Sun Belt Conference, third team) in 2011-12.

Bassey is the ninth freshman in C-USA history to be named to the all-league first team, and the first since Rice’s Marcus Evans in 2016. Others on that list include Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose and Dajuan Wagner.

Bassey is averaging 15 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks for the Hilltoppers while shooting 62.9 percent from the field.

He’s the first WKU player selected to the C-USA All-Defensive Team since the program joined the league in 2014-15, and he’s the second to make the C-USA All-Freshman Team, along with Hollingsworth last season.

Bassey leads Conference USA in double-doubles (15) and ranks in the top 30 nationally in double-doubles, field-goal percentage, blocks per game, total blocks, rebounds per game, defensive rebounds per game and total rebounds.

The 18-year-old – one of the top-10 youngest players in the country – is the only player in the nation this season with 308 rebounds, 74 blocks and 27 steals.

He could become just the second freshmen since 1992 – along with Greg Oden – to average at least 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks while shooting at least 60 percent overall.

Since 1992, the only other freshmen to finish a season with Bassey’s number of points (464), rebounds (308), blocks (74) and steals (27) are Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. (2017-18), Kentucky’s Anthony Davis (2011-12) and Maryland’s Joe Smith (1993-94).

The center has been named C-USA Freshman of the Week 10 times, tying the league record, and has more blocks by himself this season than 57 Division I teams.

He’s also played his best basketball against top competition, averaging 17.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 steals in five games against Wisconsin’s Happ, Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford, UCF’s Tacko Fall, West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate and Washington’s Noah Dickerson.

Hollingsworth’s third-team honor comes after his selection to the All-Conference USA Preseason Team in the fall.

The 6-2 sophomore guard from Lexington, Ky., has followed up a record-breaking freshman campaign by averaging 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals in his second year on The Hill.

He’s made 45 3-pointers and is shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line.

Hollingsworth ranks third in C-USA at 36.9 minutes per contest and is the only Hilltopper in history with two spots in WKU’s top 10 for most minutes played in a single season.

He’s started all 69 games of his college career, scoring in double figures in 50 of them and reaching 20 points in 15 outings.

The second-seeded Hilltoppers (18-13) head this week to the Conference USA Basketball Championship in Frisco, Texas, where they’ll face either FIU or North Texas in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. CT Thursday.

C-USA will announce its specialty and individual awards later this week.

All-Conference USA First Team

Jon Elmore, Marshall

Ahmad Caver, Old Dominion

B.J. Stith, Old Dominion

Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA

Charles Bassey, WKU

All-Conference USA Second Team

Jon Davis, Charlotte

Brian Beard, Jr., FIU

Cortez Edwards, Southern Miss

Tyree Griffin, Southern Miss

Keaton Wallace, UTSA

All-Conference USA Third Team

Anthony Adger, Florida Atlantic

C.J. Burks, Marshall

Antonio Green, Middle Tennessee

Ryan Woolridge, North Texas

Zack Bryant, UAB

Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU

All-Freshman Team

Taevion Kinsey, Marshall

Umoja Gibson, North Texas

Chris Mullins, Rice

Efe Odigie, UTEP

Charles Bassey, WKU

All-Defensive Team

Brian Beard, Jr., FIU

Osasumwen Osaghae, FIU

Xavier Green, Old Dominion

Cortez Edwards, Southern Miss

Charles Bassey, WKU