School: Western Kentucky
Height/Weight: 6’11, 245 lbs.
Charles Bassey made a very unique decision when it came to choosing a college as a 5-Star recruit coming out by choosing to play for Rick Stansbury at Western Kentucky. Conference USA isn’t really the breeding ground of many potential lottery picks in the NBA and if they do come from there, it’s usually a veteran player who dominated the college level and fueled his mid major team to a deep tournament run. That being said, the 6’11 Nigerian Center for the Hilltoppers is a one of a kind player.
What is great about Bassey’s game is his incredible frame that he possesses for such a young player. He’s 6’10-6’11 with long arms, mobility, and athleticism to burn. Those traits right there show you why he was so highly regarded in High School. At the college level Bassey has continued his strong play thanks to a relentless motor and a strong ability to attack the glass. Bassey has been a double-double machine for the Hilltoppers and he has been the owner of multiple 15+ rebound games this season.
He is able to create offense for himself by cleaning up his teammates misses and he is also able to get out in transition and finish at the rim, a rarity for guys his size. He has soft hands and finishes very easily when given alley-oop opportunities or when he can get into the paint generally against smaller defenders. With his size and athleticism, he has shown the ability to be a very good rim protector and even if his offense never fully develops at the next level, he could still make a name for himself at the defensive end of the floor.
As seems to be the case many times with the African big men imports who come over to America for high school, their offensive games aren’t always as fine tuned (minus Joel Embiid). Bassey is a very raw offensive player. While he has shown the ability to make a jump shot at the college level and has shown flashes in the post, most of his damage has come against smaller less athletic defenders.
He is quick with the ball and makes decisions fast but that can make him a bit turnover prone when he gets himself too sped up at times. He may end up being a project type player on the offensive side of the floor but the tools are in the shed for Bassey to develop into a big-time player at the NBA level. His defense on pick and rolls leaves a lot to be desired given his physical attributes and if not improved he will get exposed there until things ultimately change.
Bassey is shaping up to be a potential lottery pick in the upcoming draft. If he can get WKU into the tourney and make a small run, that could push him into top 10 consideration with more eyes on him, but right now that seems to be a bit unlikely. Bassey has a chance to be a very talented player in the NBA with potential to be an All-Star player if things develop. His floor is probably Bismack Biyombo if his jump shot does not fully develop while his ceiling is a bit more interesting.
If his jumper doesn’t become a go to for him, then a smaller Clint Capela can be a somewhat serviceable comp. Still, I believe he’s more likely to develop that jump shot than he is to be a dominant force defensively like Capela. Either way, there’s a lot to be excited about with Charles Bassey’s game.