One of the top high school big men in the country is headed to Bowling Green, Ky, and he’s headed there sooner than most thought.
Five-star center Charles Bassey has committed to Western Kentucky and will reclassify to the 2018 class, this according to multiple reports Wednesday afternoon. The news means that Bassey will be eligible to compete for Rick Stansbury and the Hilltoppers in the upcoming 2018-19 season.
Bassey, who spent last season playing for the Aspire Basketball Academy in Louisville, had previously been ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2019 class by the 247Sports composite rankings. He averaged 19.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game last season as a junior at Aspire.
A 6’10, 220-pound center, Bassey is a native of Nigeria whose father once suited up for the Nigerian national team. The younger Bassey moved to the United States when he was 14 and began his high school career suiting up for St. Anthony Catholic School in San Antonio.
With Bassey in the fold, Western Kentucky could begin the 2018-19 season as the favorite to win Conference USA. Stansbury brings back a pair of double-figure scorers in Taveion Hollingsworth (13.3 ppg) and Lamonte Bearden (11.8 ppg), adds a high-profile transfer in Auburn’s Desean Murray, and brings in a loaded recruiting class now headlined by Bassey.
Wednesday’s news marks the second time in as many years that Stansbury has landed one of the top center prospects in the country. Although Western Kentucky fans likely hope Bassey’s stay in Bowling Green winds up being longer than Mitchell Robinson’s was.
Robinson, also a five-star big man, arrived at WKU on time, left the school unexpectedly in late July, re-enrolled weeks later, and then announced in September that he wouldn’t be playing college basketball at all. He now hopes to be selected in this month’s NBA Draft.
Even without Robinson, the Hilltoppers won 27 games in 2017-18. They lost to Marshall by a point in the Conference USA tournament championship game, and then advanced all the way to the Final Four of the NIT.