One of Rick Stansbury’s recruiting tools at Western Kentucky is bringing in and developing talent to play professionally.

And for a second straight season, he’s created a platform for those players to showcase those skills in front of NBA scouts.

More than a dozen scouts were in attendance at E.A. Diddle Arena on Wednesday to watch Pro Day, which was essentially a normal two-hour practice with an extended scrimmage period.

“Whole team benefits because whether guys can play in the league or not, a lot of them think they can,” Stansbury said. “They have an opportunity with a lot of NBA teams here today. If you’re a good enough NBA player, they’re going to find you.”

All eyes were on sophomore center Charles Bassey, the 6-foot-11 star who participated in the NBA scouting combine last spring but withdrew his name from the draft to return to WKU in May.

Bassey, a Preseason First-Team All-American by a number of outlets, is expected to soar up draft projection charts after this season. The 18-year-old averaged a double-double last season as the Conference USA Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year.

Bassey’s draft process could’ve made him the first NBA draft pick out of WKU since Jeremy Evans in 2010. The only active Hilltopper in the league is Courtney Lee, and 20-plus former Toppers are playing professionally in the United States or overseas.

Since Bassey’s summer, the Lagos, Nigeria, native has leaned up, improved his outside shooting and hustle up and down the floor. Stansbury said the main thing scouts want to see with Bassey is continued development.

“Where’s that body? Is it quicker and more athletic? Is he more consistent not taking off possessions?,” Stansbury said. “I think all those things are better. Where he fits in what they’re looking for from an athletic standpoint, they’ve got to make those decisions where that’s at. There’s no question he physically looks good, physically runs up the floor better and mentally he’s better. His whole game has gotten better. There’s no substitute for experience.”

Beyond Bassey, players specifically Stansbury said could benefit from Wednesday’s showcase were redshirt senior Jared Savage, who sat out most team drills with a minor injury, juniors Josh Anderson and Taveion Hollingsworth, and incoming freshman Jordan Rawls, who reclassified to the Class of 2019.

Fans will get their first look at the 2019-20 Hilltoppers in an open scrimmage at Hilltopper Hysteria on Oct. 17.

“I wanted it to be as much of a practice as possible but at the same time, doing a few more things that may demonstrate some skills of players’ shooting ability, handling that ball,” Stansbury said. “At the same time, I want them to see guys think in quick pace, who can react, who can see that next play happening in the flow of the basketball game. We accomplished that.”{&end}

– Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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