WKU target shines in local tournament

High school recruit Charles Bassey (23) plays for Aspire Academy Wizards, on Feb. 3, 2018 at Bowling Green High school. 

Alec Jessie

WKU’s top priority for the 2019 recruiting class showcased his talents to Bowling Green over the weekend. Even with a bunch of talent playing in the Hoopin on the Hill tournament at Bowling Green High School, Aspire Academy’s Charles Bassey stood out as one of the best all-around players at the event.

In the two games Aspire competed in, Bassey averaged 12.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. With his contributions all across the stat sheet, Aspire Academy won the Grind Session, defeating Believe Prep on Friday and Bella Vista Prep on Saturday.

“It was a really good performance,” Bassey said. “Me and my team try to come out strong from the beginning of the game to the end of the game. We just make sure we get the lead and hold onto it.”


Aspire Academy head coach Jeremy Kipness loves Bassey’s team-first mindset, which certainly impacted his statistical output.

“What’s so special about him is the fact that he’s such a team player,” Kipness said. “When we need a bucket, he’s going to create and finish. But he’s such a good passer which opens up so many opportunities for everyone outside on the perimeter.”

His importance to Aspire is unquestioned, according to the head coach.

“He’s our glue guy,” Kipness said. “We go as he goes.”

Even though Bassey is ranked in the top three of the 2019 class, his game is still maturing and improving.

“He’s far from a finished product,” Kipness said. “He’s concerned with his development. He wants to get better every single day. It’s just about building upon his strengths.”

Bassey has made sure to fine tune all the aspects of his game throughout his junior year at Aspire Academy and is seeing some improvement himself.

“I work on my ball-handling and my rebound skills,” Bassey said. “I’ve been shooting the ball a lot better this year. I got to work on my weaknesses and make them my strengths.”

Bassey said that a couple weekends prior to Hoopin on the Hill, he took an unofficial visit to WKU.  He said it went very well and he thinks very highly of the Hilltoppers.

“It was great,” Bassey said. “I mean it’s a good school with a good fan base and good coach. It was great, man.”

As the recruitment of the junior class heats up, there is clear interest between Bassey and WKU. Kipness touched on how Bassey might fit into Rick Stansbury’s roster in 2019.

“Western Kentucky does a lot of great things,” Kipness said. “They play hard and they play fast. I think it fits the style of play that he plays best in.”

On 247 Sports, three experts, including recruiting guru Andrew Slater, have picked WKU to land Bassey.

But as of now, Bassey’s recruitment is wide open. In addition to WKU, Baylor, Kansas, UCLA, Texas A&M, Boston College, California and Louisiana State have offered him a scholarship, and he has also taken an unofficial visit to UK. Bassey has no visits scheduled for the near future and has no list of favorite programs. He does not appear to have much of a recruiting timeline and is nowhere near a decision.

Aspire Academy squares off against Orangeville Prep (Canada) in their next game at Seneca High School on Feb. 9.

Sports reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 502-648-7190 and [email protected]. Follow Alec on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.