2021 NBA Draft Profile: Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey

Charles Bassey
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After a devastating injury in 2020 that forced him to redshirt his sophomore season, Charles Bassey had a tremendous year at Western Kentucky. The big man averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks in his comeback season overcoming adversity to put himself in a position to be selected in the 2021 draft.

2021 NBA Draft Profile: Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey

College Career

Bassey spent three productive years at Western Kentucky averaging 15.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in 72 games. In his rookie season, the big man caught attention averaging a double-double (14.6 points and 10 rebounds) but elected to return for his sophomore year. After just 10 games, Bassey broke his tibia requiring season-ending surgery. There was a lot of conjecture surrounding his return to competitive basketball but he pushed through, winning his starting job back after 12 months of rehabilitation.

In his best performance of the year, Bassey recorded 21 points, 14 rebounds, and seven blocks (8-13 shooting, 1-2 from three, and 4-6 from the line). He was absolutely dominant in the middle and began to venture out to the three-point line, offering teams a different look as a potential stretch-five.

Bassey had a disappointing showing in the 61-57 loss in Championship Final to North Texas. He put up 13 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 3-12 from the field and 1-6 from three.

The big man elected to forgo his senior year to enter the draft.

Strengths

Defensive Impact, Motor, and Rebounding

Charles Bassey is an Athletic Center with tremendous help-side instincts. He ranked fourth in blocks per game (3.1) in the nation, utilizing his huge wingspan to pin shots against the backboard. Bassey has fantastic timing, elite recovery skills, and anticipation to stuff shots at the bucket, particularly when teammates are beaten off the bounce. It is reminiscent of the early days of Serge Ibaka in Oklahoma City.

What separates him from Ibaka is his desire to outwork people. Bassey has one of the biggest motors in this draft class and this was evident in his ability to clean the glass as well as running the floor. He ranked sixth in the nation in rebounds per game (11.5), fights for position, and imposes himself in the paint.

Additionally, Bassey is great in the open floor and makes himself available for lobs. He would be terrific for a team that operates in transition.

Weaknesses

Shooting

His offensive game is still in progress and still struggles to make contested shots. Bassey’s shooting motion is very slow and needs to be wide open. He made just 30.1% of his 3s on 2.1 attempts per game and tends to “arm” the ball. This becomes even more problematic as he tires so he will need to work on a power transfer from his legs. Bassey is a solid free throw shooter (76.8%) so there is hope he can improve.

Decision Making

The big man struggles in any decision-making situation and really has no idea when teams bring pressure. When flustered, Bassey brings the ball down presenting the ball to guards and forwards with quick hands. On top of that, he doesn’t read the floor and passes the ball without thinking.

To maximize his skills, he needs to be next to a good passer to finish plays. Bassey doesn’t have the feel to make plays for others or be trusted to pass into space.

NBA Draft Projection: 35-45

You can’t teach effort and hustle and Bassey plays hard every single possession. He’s not the most skilled player but is a prospect who will do the dirty work. After a few seasons of space and pace and ignoring rebounding, teams are beginning to trend back toward bigger centers, especially ones that can clean the glass.

He will be a nice pick-up for a team that needs a high energy big in the second round.

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