Hilltoppers lose 62-56 to Old Dominion in C-USA Championship

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers center Charles Bassey (23) backs into the lane while guarded by Old Dominion Monarchs center Elbert Robinson III (25) during WKU’s 62-56 loss to Old Dominion on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at The Star in Frisco, Texas. (Austin Anthony/photo@bgdailynews.com)

Western Kentucky sophomore Charles Bassey is picking up right where he left off after a memorable freshman season.

The 6-foot-11, 235-pound center has been named a preseason first-team All-American by Lindy’s Sports Magazine and Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook.

Bassey and Michigan State senior guard Cassius Winston are the only players to be named first-team All-Americans by both outlets.

Lindy’s ranked Bassey No. 3 on its list of the best college basketball players in America and also named him to its national All-Defense Team and All-Glass Cleaning Team.

The Lagos, Nigeria, averaged 14.6 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his first season for the Hilltoppers in 2018-19 while shooting 62.7 percent from the field.

Bassey led Conference USA in double-doubles (17) and ranked 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 while competing as one of the top-10 youngest players in the country.

He became just the second freshman in the country since 1992 – along with current NBA star Anthony Davis – to average at least 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while shooting at least 60 percent overall.

Bassey was named a Freshman All-American and was one of five national finalists – including the only freshman – for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

He became the second player in Conference USA history to win both C-USA Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, and he was also named to the All-C-USA First Team, All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team.

Bassey declared for the NBA Draft in the spring without signing with an agent. He later withdrew and opted to return to Bowling Green for his sophomore season.

He and his teammates open the 2019-20 season with an exhibition against Kentucky State on Nov. 2, followed by the regular-season opener against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 5 in E.A. Diddle Arena.{&end}

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