Western Kentucky center Charles Bassey entering 2021 NBA draft

Western Kentucky junior center Charles Bassey is going into the 2021 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Thursday.

I announce the project and hire an agent. I’m totally convinced of that, Bassey said.

Bassey, who is 5-foot-8, is the 25th pick. ESPN Top 100 candidate. He is averaging 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists and is shooting 59% from two-point range this season. He was named Conference USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and is one of five finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. He was also named an AP All-American with honorable mention.

Bessie was one of the best players in college basketball, rebounding from a 2019-20 season that ended with surgery to repair a broken tibial plateau in his left foot after just nine games.

This year has been a blessing after all the COVIDs and everything that has happened, he said. He comes back from injury and has a season like this. No one was talking about me. My teammates and coaches gave me the confidence to come out and play.

Bassey came to Western Kentucky as a five-star recruit and potential one-and-done candidate after a 13-point, 16-rebound performance in the Nike Hoop Summit game. He was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, but decided to return to school after an inconsistent performance at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine.

I didn’t know what to expect my first year, said Bassey, who enrolled at Western Kentucky at age 17. My maturity is different now. I understand what has to be done. I’m 20 years old now. I knew what I had to do. After my injury during the pandemic, I worked out 5-6 days a week with my trainer and strength coach at school for 8-10 hours a day. Just to make sure I get back safe and sound.

Bassey is very intriguing to NBA teams, with a 2-foot wingspan and 2-foot reach in the post, giving him significant potential on the defensive end. He has the ability to drive away from the basket and make 3-point shots (18 on the season), as well as soft, reliable hands and impressive rebounding and finishing speed from above the rim. His 2.5 shots per game lead the country. Bassey has shown a higher level of urgency and aggressiveness this season than in the past, earning high scores in nearly every category.

I felt like the game was taken away from me when I was sidelined with my injury, he said. I just had to go into every game and play every game. You can’t take a break. That’s what you have to do at the highest level; you have to be consistent in every game.

In addition to all of his successes on the field, Bassey is also very proud of making the Conference USA All-Academic team with a 3.9 GPA and a spot on Western Kentucky’s Dean’s List.

That’s what makes me who I am: my character, he said. One day I have to quit basketball and move on with my life. They won’t play forever. I want to graduate. Just being a good person in the community. Giving is blessing upon blessing.

The NBA announced this week that the 2021 NBA Draft will take place on July 29. will take place, with the draft taking place on the 21st. June with 5 for 5 games focusing on public health.

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