DALLAS, Texas – WKU center Charles Bassey is just the second player in Conference
USA history to win both the league’s Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of
the Year awards, the conference announced Tuesday.
Bassey joins Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside in 2010 as the only other C-USA player to
ever win both awards in the same season.
The two prestigious honors continue a big week for the 6-foot-11, 245-pound native
of Lagos, Nigeria.
On Monday, he was named to the All-Conference USA First Team, All-Freshman Team and
All-Defensive Team. On Friday, Bassey was named 1 of 5 national finalists –
including the only freshman – for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.
Bassey is the first Hilltopper to win an individual conference award since Chris
Harrison-Docks was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year in 2013-14. He’s
the first Hilltopper to be named a conference’s Defensive Player of the Year since
Mike Wells won it for the second straight year in the Sun Belt in 2003-04.
Bassey is averaging 15 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks for the Hilltoppers
while shooting 62.9 percent from the field.
He leads Conference USA in double-doubles (15) and ranks 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.
The 18-year-old – one of the top-10 youngest players in the country – is the only
player in the nation this season with at least 308 rebounds, 74 blocks and 27
He could become just the second freshmen since 1992 – along with Greg Oden – to
average at least 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks while shooting at least 60
The center has been named C-USA Freshman of the Week 10 times, tying the league
record, and has more blocks by himself this season than 57 Division I teams.
He’s also played his best basketball against top competition, averaging 17.8 points,
10.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 steals in five games against Wisconsin’s Happ,
Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford, UCF’s Tacko Fall, West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate and
Washington’s Noah Dickerson.
The second-seeded Hilltoppers (18-13) head this week to the Conference USA
Basketball Championship in Frisco, Texas, where they’ll face either FIU or North
Texas in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. CT Thursday.
Middle Tennessee’s Antonio Green was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year on Tuesday,
while Southern Miss’ LaDavius Draine and Florida Atlantic’s Xavian Stapleton shared
Sixth Player of the Year.
C-USA will announce its Player of the Year and Coach of the Year on Wednesday.
Conference USA Superlative Awards
Freshman of the Year – Charles Bassey, WKU
Defensive Player of the Year – Charles Bassey, WKU
Newcomer of the Year – Antonio Green, Middle Tennessee
Co-Sixth Players of the Year – LaDavius Draine, Southern Miss / Xavian Stapleton,