WKU Men’s Basketball: Bassey named to 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Award watch list

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. WKU Hilltopper Basketball sophomore center Charles Bassey has been named one of 20 national watch list members for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, as announced Friday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its sixth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.  A national committee comprising top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

Bassey is no stranger to consideration for the award. He was a top-five finalist for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, and one of three freshmen to be named a finalist in the award’s existence.

The 6-foot-11, 230-pound center has already been named a Preseason First-Team All-American by both Lindy’s Sports Magazine and Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook.

Bassey averaged 14.6 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in his first season for the Hilltoppers in 2018-19 while shooting 62.7 percent from the field.

The Lagos, Nigeria, native led Conference USA in double-doubles (17) and ranked 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 while competing as one of the top-10 youngest players in the country.

He became just the second freshmen in the country since 1992 – along with current NBA star Anthony Davis – to average at least 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while shooting at least 60 percent overall.

Bassey was named a Freshman All-American and became the second player in Conference USA history to win both C-USA Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. He was also named to the All-C-USA First Team, All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team.

Bassey declared for the NBA Draft in the spring without signing with an agent, before withdrawing and opting to return to Bowling Green for his sophomore season.

New to the award this season is Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. Fans can vote for Bassey beginning today at the following link: https://goto.ps/BasseyKareemVote

By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.

The winner of the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles on Friday, April 10, 2020, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (2019), Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).

For more information on the 2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram.

2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates*

Chase Jeter, Arizona

Nico Carvacho, Colorado State

Vernon Carey, Duke

Kerry Blackshear, Florida

Omer Yurtseven, Georgetown

Luke Garza, Iowa

Udoka Azubuike, Kansas

Steven Enoch, Louisville

James Wiseman, Memphis

Jon Teske, Michigan

Jeremiah Tillmon, Missouri

Armando Bacot, North Carolina

Nate Watson, Providence

Matt Haarms, Purdue

Nick Rakocevic, USC

Neemias Queta, Utah State

Isaiah Stewart, Washington

Derek Culver, West Virginia

Charles Bassey, WKU

Nathan Knight, William and Mary

*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2019-20 season*