SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball freshman center Charles Bassey has
been named one of 20 national watch list members for the 2019 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 fifth 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 – a 6-foot-11, 245-pound native of Lagos, Nigeria – was ranked as the No. 6
prospect in the 2018 class by the 247Sports Composite ratings. He’s the
highest-ranked recruit to compete for the Hilltoppers in several decades, and
certainly in the modern recruiting era since the rise in popularity of the internet
Bassey averaged 19.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.4 blocks, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals
per game as a junior for Aspire Academy in Louisville, Ky., before reclassifying
into the 2018 class. At 17 years old, he’s believed to be among the top-five
youngest players in college basketball this season.
Bassey became the first player ever to be named MVP two years in a row at the Pangos
All-American Camp, and he broke the Nike Hoop Summit record for rebounds with 17 in
the World team’s victory over Team USA last April. He was also MVP of the 2018
Basketball Without Borders camp.
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of
the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In March, five finalists will be
presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.
The winner of the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at The College
Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles on Friday, April 12, along
with the other four members of the Naismith Starting 5. Additional awards being
presented and receiving support from Eaton Ephesus Lighting include the Bob Cousy
Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small
Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award. Broadcast information will be
released by ESPN at a later date.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Angel
Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah
(2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).
For more information and the latest updates on the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award,
log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and
2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates
Daniel Gafford, Arkansas
Austin Wiley, Auburn
James Thompson IV, Eastern Michigan
Jessie Govan, Georgetown
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga
Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
Nick Richards, Kentucky
Cameron Krutwig, Loyola Chicago
Naz Reid, LSU
Jalen Smith, Maryland
Dewan Hernandez, Miami
Nick Ward, Michigan St.
Jontay Porter, Missouri
Bol Bol, Oregon
Moses Brown, UCLA
James Dickey, UNC Greensboro
Charles Bassey, WKU
Nathan Knight, William & Mary
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin