Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic

Western Kentucky junior center Charles Bassey (right) lays the ball up against West Virginia on Nov. 27 during the Hilltoppers’ 70-64 loss in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Western Kentucky junior center Charles Bassey has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watch List, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Monday.

Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the 2020-21 season thus far, the list comprises of 20 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.

Bassey – a 6-foot-11, 235-pound native of Lagos, Nigeria – continues to solidify his position as one of the top overall and defensive players in the nation.

In addition to the Wooden Award, Bassey is on the watch lists for the Naismith Trophy and Lute Olson Award National Player of the Year, as well as the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. Last week, he was named a top-10 candidate for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year award.

As of Sunday, Bassey led the nation in total rebounds, double-doubles and dunks. He also ranked second in total blocks, blocks per game and defensive rebounds per game, as well as fourth in total rebounds per game.

The junior is averaging 17.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per contest while shooting 59.1% from the field. He’s one of just two players in the country with multiple games this season of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, and the only player with three such games.

Bassey is the only player in the nation since at least 2010 with three games in a season of at least 20 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.

Bassey has also produced his eye-popping numbers against top competition. WKU’s non-conference strength of schedule was ranked 33rd in the country by the NET on Sunday.

In four games against West Virginia, Louisville, Alabama and Memphis, he averaged 19 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.8 blocks.

Bassey’s been named Conference USA Player of the Week six times already this year, tying former Cincinnati star and longtime NBA pro Kenyon Martin for the league record for most in a single season.

The players on the Wooden late season watch list are considered strong candidates for the 2021 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the late season list are still eligible for the Wooden Award National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award.

Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early-round games. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2021 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.{&end}

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.