WKU Men’s Basketball: Hilltoppers tabbed to win C-USA; Hollingsworth, Bassey named preseason All-Conference

DALLAS For the second straight year, WKU Hilltopper Basketball has been picked 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 WKU junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth and sophomore center Charles Bassey were named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.

WKU received 13 first-place votes, while UTSA earned the other top vote. The Hilltoppers advanced to the C-USA Tournament championship game in 2018-19 before falling to Old Dominion.

This is the second straight year the Hilltoppers have had multiple preseason all-conference selections, and it’s the second such honor for Hollingsworth.

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard from Lexington, Ky., was a Third Team All-C-USA selection last season after averaging 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 36.8 minutes per game as a sophomore.

Hollingsworth was also named to the C-USA Championship All-Tournament Team.

He has started all 72 games of his college career and needs just four points to reach 1,000 for his career.

The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Bassey reeled in accolades in his debut season on The Hill in 2018-19, including becoming the second player in C-USA history to win Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

The Lagos, Nigeria, native was also a First-Team All-C-USA pick after averaging 14.6 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks, while shooting 62.7 percent from the field, 45 percent from the 3-point line and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line.

He was just the second freshman in the country since 1992 – along with Kentucky’s Anthony Davis – to average at least 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while shooting at least 60 percent from the floor.

Bassey was one of five national finalists for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year award and was named a Kyle Macy Freshman All-American.

He’s been tabbed as a Preseason First-Team All-American by both Lindy’s Sports and Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook.

WKU’s first exhibition game is against Kentucky State at 7:30 p.m. CT Nov. 2, while the program opens the regular season at home against Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. Nov. 5.

C-USA Preseason Coaches Poll

  1. WKU (13)
  2. UTSA (1)
  3. Louisiana Tech

     T4. UTEP

     T4. Old Dominion

  1. UAB
  2. North Texas
  3. Middle Tennessee
  4. Florida Atlantic
  5. FIU
  6. Marshall
  7. Charlotte
  8. Rice
  9. Southern Miss

All-C-USA Preseason Team

Devon Andrews, FIU

Jailyn Ingram, Florida Atlantic

DaQuan Bracey, Louisiana Tech

Antonio Green, Middle Tennessee

Xavier Green, Old Dominion

Zack Bryant, UAB

Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA

Keaton Wallace, UTSA

Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU

Charles Bassey, WKU